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Junior doctor whistleblowers to be protected from unfair treatment

Junior doctor whistleblowers in Scotland will now be legally protected against unfair treatment from NHS Education Scotland (NES).

The BMA has struck a deal with NES, which will extend the legal protection that all employees expect from employers to the relationship between NES and junior doctors who raise concerns about patient safety.

This was a special circumstance because NES does not employ the majority of junior doctors but NES is responsible for providing junior doctors with a training number, without which their training and careers cannot progress.

Dr Adam Collins, chair of BMA Scotland’s Junior Doctors Committee, said the new deal will protect junior doctors ‘from any potential detriment by NHS Education for Scotland’.

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He said: ‘This is vital for junior doctors, whose careers are uniquely under the dual influence of both NES and their Health Board.’ 

He added that it is ‘vital’ for junior doctors Having the confidence that you can safely speak up when things are going wrong is absolutely vital to patient safety.

He said: ‘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.’

This comes after a study recently found that the junior doctors’ strike in 2016 had ‘significant negative impacts’ on patient care, with 294,844 appointments cancelled by all providers during the strike periods.