Judges have ruled that junior doctors who blow the whistle on poor practice should receive greater protection.
Following a landmark case, the Court of Appeal has said that current employment laws need to be revisited to ensure there is sufficient support for those in the medical profession who seek to highlight problems.
The issue has risen to prominence as a result of a case brought by Dr Chris Day, who has claimed his career was left in tatters after he flagged up concerns about staff shortages at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
It is alleged that after he blew the whistle about the cover available on an intensive care unit, he was the subject of baseless accusations by Health Education England (HEE) and his training number was deleted.
Initially a court had ruled that HEE was not subject to strict whistleblowing legislation, although this verdict has now been challenged by the Court of Appeal.
As a consequence, the case has been referred back to an Employment Tribunal by Judges, with proceedings to decide whether the HEE had broken conditions set out in the claimant’s contract.
Speaking after the important victory, Dr Day said: “I hope that people can see more than a win here and are able to appreciate who has opposed junior doctors having statutory whistleblowing protection and why they would hold such a position?”
Cathy James, the chief executive of whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work, said: “I would like to congratulate Chris Day on what is an amazing achievement both personally and for his fellow professionals, but also a major positive shift in the protection afforded to whistleblowers across all industries.
“We have always said that effective protection for whistleblowers will result in more concerns about wrongdoing, risk or malpractice being effectively raised and ultimately a safer, better and fairer society.”