Extra legal protection for whistleblowing junior doctors

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Extra legal protection has been put in place for junior doctors and other post-graduate trainees who are unfairly treated as a result of whistleblowing.

The provisions are aimed at protecting those who raise concerns from detrimental treatment by NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

They are in addition to existing safeguards against unfair treatment by a health board.

Health Secretary Shona Robison
Shona Robison said the plan builds on measures already in place (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “It is crucial that people at all stages of their careers feel able to raise their concerns without fear of punishment or retribution.

“That is why we took steps to introduce new legally binding protections for doctors in training and other postgraduate trainees who whistleblow in Scotland.

“This builds on a range of measures already in place across NHS Scotland, including the whistleblowing alert and advice service.”

Dr Adam Collins, chairman of BMA Scotland’s junior doctors committee, said the provisions in the Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Act extended the legal protections whistleblowing junior doctors could expect from an employer to the NHS education body.

“This is vital for junior doctors, whose careers are uniquely under the dual influence of both NES and their health board,” he said.

“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.”