Junior doctor wins court backing for whistleblowing status
A Junior doctor has won court backing over his argument that he should have been protected as a whistleblower when raising concerns about staffing levels.
Dr Chris Day brought a claim against Health Education England (HEE) and the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust, saying he suffered bad treatment after raising his concerns about patient safety at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
After wrangling with his employer, who claimed he could not take the case to an employment tribunal, the Court of Appeal backed his opinion. Judges added that courts should read words into the relevant legislation in order to “maximise the protection” for employees while remaining true to the statute’s language.
The appeal court said the case should be returned to the employment tribunal, which will decide as a preliminary issue “whether HEE substantially determined the terms of engagement of Dr Day”. Day raised £140,000 in crowdfunding for the appeal, which he said was crucial to protect junior doctors under whistleblowing law.
Legal protection for whistleblowers was introduced in the UK in 1999 as an amendment to the Employment Rights Act. The act covers employees who make disclosures of certain types of information, including evidence of illegal activity, from retribution from their employers such as dismissal or being passed over for promotion. In addition, where an employee is dismissed for making a protected disclosure, this dismissal is automatically unfair.
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