When our client Dr Chris Day brought a whistleblowing claim against Health Education England (HEE) in October 2014, HEE argued that junior doctors have no whistleblowing protection against HEE. This surprised many junior doctors because HEE plays an important – for many junior doctors the most important role – in determining their careers up to the time they become consultants.
This morning HEE conceded that junior doctors are covered by whistleblowing protection. The relevant statutory provision is section 43(K)(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The battle to establish this has taken Chris more than three and a half years, and has involved hearings before Employment Tribunals, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
Despite the damage to his career over this period Chris Day has shown enormous courage in persisting with his campaign to establish statutory protection for all junior doctors. Like many whistleblowers Chris has faced widespread criticism from established interests. He has been widely criticised by those who should have supported him. They attempted to convince the medical profession and the public at large that he could not succeed.
He has now succeeded. All junior doctors owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.
He would be the first to say that he too owes an enormous debt to all those thousands of people who encouraged him to keep going with his campaign and financed his legal fees through Crowd Justice, and particularly to his wife Mel and the Day family who have supported him every step of the way.
We will provide a more detailed analysis of the legal issues in due course, but today is a day to simply take pleasure in the fact that in our society it is still possible for one individual to succeed as a whistleblower against all the odds in a case like this.