Last week, the High Court handed down the judgement of the case of Dr Bawa-Garba vs the GMC. The judgement concluded that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the medical register.
The outcome of the GMC’s appeal against the original decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service is disappointing. Medical Protection has raised concerns that it may jeopardise an open, learning culture in healthcare at a time when the profession is already marred by low morale and fear.
Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at Medical Protection, said that when considering whether a doctor is fit and safe to practise, every case must be assessed on its own merits and should not be solely determined by the criminal sanction handed down by the court.
He added: “Gross negligence manslaughter cases are usually complex, involve systems failures, and are devastating for all concerned. A conviction should not automatically mean that a doctor who has fully remediated and demonstrated insight into their clinical failings is erased.”
Medical Protection has a wealth of experience in supporting doctors faced with gross negligence manslaughter charges, and has supported Dr Bawa-Garba for the last seven years – funding and providing the best possible independent legal advice and considering all possible avenues at every stage, including Queen’s Counsel representation at the Court of Appeal.
Dr Hendry stressed that the complexity of these cases, and the nature of the criminal justice system, makes them notoriously difficult.
He continued: “Our committent to this case remains strong – for our member and as a matter of principle for the profession. We respect Dr Bawa-Garba’s decision to seek a second opinion in light of her incredibly difficult situation and the crowdfunding appeal which has been established for her. We understand and share the strength of feeling on this case among our members and the wider healthcare community.”