4 January 2011
Q. I would like to leave my current associate position as I have been offered a position in a practice six miles away. My current contract states that I am not allowed to work within an eight mile radius of the current practice. Is there any way around this clause?
It is obviously difficult to provide any detailed advice without first having sight of the contract but in general terms a barring out clause, as long as it is reasonable, is considered to be an enforceable part of the contract.
The reasonableness of the barring out clause will be determined to some extent on whether the current practice is set in a rural or urban area; it would be considered to be unreasonable say for a six mile barring out clause if the dentist worked in a small town.
Because this is a business matter you might like to take advice from your representative body such as the BDA or the DPA and if necessary from a solicitor. You may also wish to consider discussing this move with your current practice principal to perhaps come to some agreement that you will not canvas patients with details of your new working arrangements once you leave the practice.