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NHS chiefs spend [pounds sterling]100,000 on failed bid to stop whistleblowing doctor having his day in court; Dr Chris Day, 32, said his career was "destroyed" after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit in Woolwich, London.

Byline: Dan Bloom

NHS chiefs spent more than [pounds sterling]100,000 on a failed bid to stop a whistleblowing junior doctor having his day in court.

Dr Chris Day, 32, said his career was "destroyed" after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit in Woolwich, London.

Yet he was blocked from taking his claims to an employment tribunal after Health Education England (HEE) argued it wasn't his employer.

Three Court of Appeal judges reversed that decision in May and granted Dr Day a tribunal next year.

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Now we can reveal HEE spent [pounds sterling]103,167 of taxpayer cash on legal fees linked to the case.

The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust where Dr Day worked spent a further [pounds sterling]29,523 in legal fees since the row began in October 2014.

Dr Day said his performance was questioned and his training number deleted after he said he was the only doctor covering an 18-bed intensive care unit.

He told the Mirror: "Rather than dealing with serious safety issues they've opted to completely destroy my credibility and my career."

He added: "This is a huge amount of money to spend trying to prevent an NHS whistleblowing case being heard by a court.

"The HEE arguments have also undermined whistleblowing law for all junior doctors.

"At the heart of the case are serious safety issues in an understaffed Intensive Care Unit which have not been heard for over 3 years."

Labour shadow health minister Justin Madders, who obtained the figures, said they were "astonishing".

He added: "For all his talk about creating a learning culture in the NHS, Jeremy Hunt has now wasted well over [pounds sterling]100,000 on this case.

"At a time when money is so tight that services are being cut, every penny ought to be going towards delivering the best possible service for patients."

Health Education England insisted it supports doctors in raising safety fears and encourages them to do so, introducing a new legal route.

Chief executive Ian Cumming said: "In Dr Day's case, we have always maintained that we did not cause him any detriment so it was very important we defended accusations that we did.

"Junior doctors must know that we are there to support them. The costs reflect the ongoing and complex nature of this particular claim that relates to employment law."

A spokesman for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: "The Trust does not accept Chris Day's allegations and the employment tribunal is likely to be held later next year."

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Health Education England has spent more than [pounds sterling]100,000 on the case

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Labour's Justin Madders, who obtained the figures, said they were "astonishing"

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Title Annotation:News,Politics
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 15, 2017
Words:475
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