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Junior doctor wins legal protection for all trainees who report safety concerns

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2208 (Published 18 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2208
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. London

Health Education England has conceded that it is an employer of postgraduate medical trainees and that junior doctors who raise concerns in the public interest are protected by statutory law.

The admission came at the start of an employment tribunal on 14 May before any evidence had been heard. The protracted legal battle involves Chris Day, a trainee doctor who raised concerns about understaffing to hospital managers while working in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in southeast London.

The acknowledgment of its status as an employer is a U turn for HEE, which had argued since 2015 that junior doctors were not its employees, meaning that they could not take action against it under employment law protections if they believed they had been wronged.

After the latest hearing a spokesperson for HEE told The BMJ, “We have made very clear our position on being considered as a second employer for …

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