Trainee doctors who believe that they have suffered negative consequences at work for whistleblowing will now be able to issue a direct legal challenge against Health Education England.

The facts

As we reported in April, junior doctors cannot bring whistleblowing claims against Health Education England (HEE) because it is not their "employer" according to the definition used in whistleblowing legislation.

However, HEE, NHS Employers and the BMA have agreed a resolution granting trainees the third party right to bring claims for breach of contract directly against HEE.

Better protection for NHS whistleblowers, including appointing a national guardian, was a key recommendation of the Francis report, with several measures announced this April.

What does this mean for employers?

HEE will be contacting employers to include a contractual provision to protect against detrimental treatment of junior doctors from HEE. Employers will also be encouraged to publicise this information to junior doctors. This may mean that there will be an increase in such claims against Health Education England and employers will need to liaise with HEE in relation to any such claims and their defence.