This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

The docbot will see you now

GMC relationship with doctors ‘severely damaged’ following Bawa-Garba case

The GMC should acknowledge its relationship with doctors has been ‘severely damaged’ from the Bawa-Garba case and ‘must learn’ from it, a major review has said.

The long-awaited independent review of gross negligence, manslaughter and culpable homicide said the GMC should take ‘immediate steps’ to rebuild doctors’ trust after they were damaged by the regulator’s handling of the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba.

It also found a 'lack of confidence' in the regulator due to its focus on individual blame. 

The review was commissioned by the GMC following the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock in 2011, which led to the prosecution and conviction of Dr Bawa-Garba for gross negligence and manslaughter.

It found that there was a ‘loss of confidence’ in the GMC from doctors following this case, which saw GMC appeal against the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service decision and pursue Dr Bawa-Garba’s removal from the register.

The chair of the review, Dr Leslie Hamilton, said: ‘The decision of the GMC to seek this doctor’s erasure from the medical register following her criminal conviction caused consternation and outrage across large sections of the medial profession in the UK and overseas.

‘Some described it as “toxic fear”. Many questioned why an individual trainee working under pressure should carry the blame for what they considered to be wider systemic failings within her working environment.’

Dr Hamilton said this case was part of a ‘more fundamental loss of confidence’ in the GMC, which stems from a system structured to apportion individual blame rather than to learn from events.

The report said: ‘Many doctors feel unfairly vulnerable to criminal and regulatory proceedings should they make a mistake which leads to a patient being harmed.’

‘The depth of this feeling has resulted in a breakdown in the relationship between many doctors and their regulator.’

Chief executive of the GMC Charlie Massey said they ‘fully accept’ the challenge to rebuild the trust with the profession, and admitted the case has ‘undoubtedly’ affected their relationship with doctors.

He said: ‘We share this report’s desire for a just culture in healthcare and acknowledge that we have a crucial role in making that happen. We are already making progress. Work is underway to address some of the key issues raised in this report but there is plenty more for us to do.’

Last month, Mr Massey said the GMC would shift how it spends the bulk of its resources, from investigating doctors to supporting them.

Dr Hamilton added there had repeatedly been calls for change from patient safety experts over the past 20 years, but he hoped this review would be the ‘tipping point’ for change.

The review made 29 recommendations to ‘enhance patient safety’, including improving systems and legislation surrounding healthcare professionals’ regulation.

It follows the news that GMC will roll out changes to how it handles one-off mistakes by GPs and other doctors.

Readers' comments (29)

  • ‘I HAD A DREAM’
    Dr Baldrick MB, MicMou etc was in the dock (self funded by remortgaging his modest semi and selling his beloved and children into white slavery) on the charge of ‘Gross Negligent Molesting a Turnip’.
    The Honourable Mr Arkwright was on the bench, trying not to get his fingers caught in anything...
    Mr Corbett (on behalf of the GMC and on the modest retainer of £500,000) was pursuing a prosecution.
    The jury were ‘pink’.
    Iambic pentameter was the vernacular
    It didn’t go well
    Then they all faded away.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • They need to beheld at the same level of proof as they hold us, on the balance of probability.On that they are as guilty of sin.Like us someone must be held to account the system finds individuals to hang out to dry, like us someone should accept responsibility for this mess and fall on their sword for the team.Show empathy with those you regulate, suffer the same fate they suffer when an honest mistake has been made or the system lets them down.You know who you are(Charlie)time to do the first honourable thing you have done in this job, time to take responsibility as a good CEO and resign.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gmc is a corrupt and ineffective organisation. An arm of government, they are merely self-serving pen-pushers first and foremost. They should be disbanded.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The GMC aren't corrupt - they just got out of control under awful leadership.
    It remains to be seen whether their self-inflicted damage is terminal.
    I suspect that they will survive but with reduced authority.
    The only was back would be a radical profession wide reassessment of their role and of the power balance between them and the profession.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • GMC Kangaroo Court!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It certainly doesn't feel like self regulation any more

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • anyone with any shame would have gone in the light of this but Charlie the Lush clings on

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The only way to regain trust is to have the GMC run by a majority of the profession itself.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rip it up and start again.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • THE GMC IS THE "PUPPET" FOR THIS GOVERNMENT, DANCING TO THEIR TUNE...IT IS PATHETIC...THE GMC NOW NEED TO DO THE HONOURABLE THING AND DEMAND LEGISLATION TO HOLD MINISTERS TO ACCOUNT FOR SYSTEM FAILURES....YES I KNOW IT MIGHT HURT THEIR PERSONAL ASPIRATIONS BUT THEY MUST BE BOLD.

    MANY HOPE FOR A WORLD WHERE MINISTERS CAN BE INDIVIDUALLY CHARGED FOR "CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY" AND CUFFED AND TAKEN AWAY TO THE DOCK

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say