latest health care news


Legal battle over junior doctor breaks could have ‘dramatic’ consequences for NHS

A junior doctor is taking the trust it is employed by to court for allegedly not giving young medics enough rest, and potentially putting patient safety at risk.

The doctor, Dr Sarah Hallett, argues that the Royal Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation should ensure that junior medics receive a half an hour break for every four hours they work.

She is bringing the case to court on behalf of 20 other doctors who trained with her in Derby.

If she is successful, Royal Derby Hospitals may be facing a bill of £250,000 to pay for the 21 medics missed breaks over an eight-month period, according to the Derby Telegraph.

In court, NHS Barrister Richard Leiper QC warned that Dr Hallett’s case could have a considerable negative impact on the whole NHS as well as the Derby trust if other junior doctors were to follow suit and launch similar cases.

 “The potential cost to the trust, let alone to the NHS as a whole, would be dramatic,” he stated.

But John Cavanagh QC, representing Dr Hallett, who is also chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee, said the case was of “general public importance” and was “of significance across the NHS.”

He also said his client’s argument was not just based on money, but also centred around protecting patients.

A spokesperson for the Derby Teaching Hospitals Trust told NHE: “The trust puts patient safety as its top priority.

“This trial is simply about how Derby Teaching Hospitals monitored junior doctors working hours back in 2013. The approach we took mirrors that taken by a significant proportion of NHS trusts up and down the country. No further comment can be made until the conclusion of this test case.”


Shankar Kashyap   21/02/2018 at 13:14

Well done Dr Hallett. It is time that the doctors did something about Victorian work practices in Medicine. The government/GMC/people expect the doctors to work at 110% and it is time they are treated the same. No one comes to a doctors aid when things go wrong - Dr Bawa-Garba's case - when a tired doctor makes a mistake. It is time the doctors joined hands and fight for their rights. I do hope the judge in this case is brave enough to be fair to the Doctors.

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >


NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >