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Junior doctor in legal dispute over whistleblowing claims

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A junior doctor claims his career has been derailed after being involved in a legal dispute over protection for whistleblowers.

Chris Day, 31, says he has been in ‘limbo’ for nearly two years after waiting for the outcome of a tribunal which could be a landmark ruling.

Dr Chris Day was working overnight in January 2014 when two locum doctors failed to turn up. He had to cover other wards and A&E and reported his concerns to managers.

Since his one-year placement at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, South-East London, ended he has failed to find permanent work.

He is now awaiting an employment tribunal ruling after bringing a claim for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing detriment against Health Education England (HEE) and Lewisham Greenwich NHS Trusts.

“I have had my career wrecked,” he said.

His claim was helped by £22,000 raised via the Crowdjustice website. A second hearing has just taken place and judgment is expected at any time as to whether to allow the case to proceed.

At the first hearing last August, Mr Recorder Jan Luba QC said there was a need to clarify for all junior doctors whether HEE, which took responsibility for trainee doctors from the London Deanery, was technically an “employer” and owed them employment rights.

Dr Day told the London Evening Standard: “What my litigation has uncovered is that these quite powerful functions are not governed by any kind of employment legislation.

“They’ve tried to prevent a whistleblowing court case happening by trying to say junior doctors don’t have whistleblowing protection.”

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust denied failing whistleblowers. It said: “We investigated Dr Day’s concerns in detail. We have robust procedures to support staff who raise concerns and we encourage our staff to speak out when concerns arise.

“We identified the need to increase medical staffing numbers for the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth hospital. The unit is now fully compliant with quality standards.”

HEE said it would not comment during an active legal case.

The married father-of-two told News Shopper: “One night I made a call then it snowballed out of control. In this case it’s simply my phoning a manager in middle of a night shift and giving them information on this case which they probably didn’t want to hear.

“What’s happened is I have been knocked off a career path to consultant doctor. I work as a locum doctor in A&E now doing ad hoc shifts when they’re short of staff.”