A new agreement has been reached to provide additional legal protection to junior doctors who raise concerns about patient safety.
The agreement means that any junior doctor whistleblower who faced unfair treatment from NHS Education Scotland (NES) will now have the option of seeking legal recourse.
While whistleblowers are already legally protected from being treated unfairly by their employers, this protection did not previously cover the relationship between most junior doctors and NES, as they do not employ the majority of junior doctors. NHS Education Scotland are responsible for providing junior doctors with a training number, without which their training and careers cannot progress, so play a significant role in junior doctors’ working lives.
Welcoming the new protections, Dr Adam Collins, Chair of BMA Scotland’s Junior Doctors Committee said:
“This agreement extends the legal protection whistleblowing junior doctors could expect from an employer, to cover them from any potential detriment by NHS Education for Scotland. This is vital for junior doctors, whose careers are uniquely under the dual influence of both NES and their Health Board.
“Having the confidence that you can safely speak up when things are going wrong is absolutely vital to patient safety. It is incredibly important that potential whistleblowers are confident they will be protected against unfair treatment from both their employer and their training body if they feel they need to speak out.
“I am delighted that the BMA has been able to secure this agreement with NES and the Scottish Government which will be of great benefit to both junior doctors and the patients we care for.”