"Appeal rejected" were the words uttered by The Honourable Mr Justice Langstaff, as he handed down a London EAT Judgment in the Manchester Civil Justice Centre today, coinciding with yet another junior doctors strike.
The judgement effectively denies all of the country’s 54,000 junior doctors protection from detriment or dismissal from the only NHS body, Health Education England (HEE), that has power over their long term career, when they raise issues of patient safety or staffing issues.
Despite paying a substantial part of the doctor’s salary, arranging training placements and regularly reviewing career progress, HEE successfully convinced the Judge that it has no substantial influence over junior doctors’ careers or long term employment. This effectively means that HEE can act with impunity to harm or dismiss a doctor that raises safety concerns, and a doctor will not be able to get the actions of HEE leading to an alleged unfair dismissal scrutinised by a court.
This comes on the same morning that Jeremy Hunt’s office confirmed that all NHS staff “co-operating with investigations will be supported and protected” through “new measures including an independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and legal protection”.
If the judgment is correct, HEE’s reasons for deleting a doctor's national training number, which is mandatory for a doctor’s progress to consultant, cannot be scrutinised in an employment tribunal. This leaves junior doctors vulnerable to retaliation if they whistle-blow.
This cannot be right, so we intend to seek legal advice on whether we can appeal this decision. We would like to thank the 1010 financial backers who have supported the case thus far through Crowd Justice and hope that they will support us further until we are able to establish that junior doctors are protected or the law is changed.
For more information:
Jeremy Hunt’s Announcement on 09/03:
Crowd Funding Site (Over £25,000, 1000 backers):
Dr Chris Day
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org