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Whistle-blowing, or making a protected disclosure to give it a proper title, is something that is supposedly designed to protect an employee who sees something that is potentially damaging to others and makes a report (disclosure) about it.  There’s employment law protection for someone who is a whistle-blower, but there are quite particular rules about who can blow the whistle, how, who to, and under what circumstance.  We don’t very often see reported cases on this subject, but there was a good one within the last few days.

A junior doctor was employed in South East London, at Lewisham Hospital.  His training placements were arranged by Health Education England (HEE), which also paid the hospital trust part of his salary.  The doctor was a whistle-blower regarding patient safety, and made the disclosures to the hospital trust and to HEE.  He then made claims against both saying that he had been put to a detriment.  His claim against HEE was struck out because he did not work for them.  But the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) was asked to decide whether there was enough of a relationship to be identified if a wider approach were taken.

The EAT decided that the Doctor’s relationship with HEE was well outside the category of workers and relationships protected by the current legislation.  So, not a worker or an employee, therefore no entitlement to protection for his disclosure to HEE and no detriment to be claimed.


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