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Dr Bawa-Garba's fitness to practise 'remains impaired', tribunal rules

A tribunal has ruled that the fitness to practise of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba - the paediatic trainee involved in the death of a six-year-old boy - remains impaired due to her lack of face-to-face patient contact while she was suspended. 

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) agreed that 'the risk of Dr Bawa-Garba putting another patient at an unwarranted risk of harm is low' in a hearing today.

However, they added that Dr Bawa-Garba had an extended period of time during which she has been unable to practise, so her 'fitness to practise should be found impaired because of her extended absence from medical practice'.

The tribunal will rule on further sanctions tomorrow, including whether she should be allowed to practise with supervision.

The ruling, released today, said: 'It was clear to the Tribunal that Dr Bawa-Garba has now had an extended period of time during which she has been unable to practice and she has not had face-to-face contact with patients since January 2015. In those circumstances, the Tribunal determined that Dr Bawa-Garba’s fitness to practise should be found impaired because of her extended absence from medical practice.

'The Tribunal therefore determined that Dr Bawa-Garba’s fitness to practise remains impaired by reason of her conviction.'

A GMC spokesperson said: 'We would like to acknowledge how difficult this process has been for the Adcock family and our thoughts are with them.

'The GMC and Dr Bawa-Garba’s representatives both submitted to the medical practitioners tribunal that her fitness to practise remains impaired due to the length of time she has been out of practice. It is important the doctor’s return to practice is safely managed.

'The tribunal agreed, making a finding of impairment. The tribunal will determine its next steps tomorrow.'

Doctors' Association UK chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden said: 'The decision that Bawa-Garba’s fitness to practise remains impaired was expected given the length of time Hadiza has been out of clinical practice.

'However, this does not mean that Dr Bawa-Garba cannot return to the medical register and we are awaiting the full determination. Indeed, the tribunal today was satisfied that Dr Bawa-Garba has “fully remediated” and therefore we remain hopeful that Bawa-Garba will be restored to the medical register tomorrow.'

In December last year, it was announced that the MPTS had extended the suspension of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba by a further six months, in order to 'protect the public'.

This ruling followed a Court of Appeal judgment against the GMC in August ordering Dr Bawa-Garba not to be struck off the medical register.

This came after the high-profile High Court case which saw the GMC succeed in an appeal against an MPTS suspension order, strengthening the doctor's sanction to being struck off.

Dr Bawa-Garba’s appeal case

Dr Bawa-Garba was struck off the medical register after the High Court ruled in favour of the GMC in the case against its own fitness-to-practise tribunal in January this year.

James Laddie, the QC representing Dr Bawa-Garba, claimed at her appeal hearing in July that there were ‘systemic failings which contributed to the environment in which Dr Bawa-Garba came to make the mistakes which led us to this court’.

Dr Bawa-Garba had originally diagnosed Jack Adcock with gastroenteritis and failed to spot from blood tests that Jack had sepsis, or review chest X-rays that indicated he had a chest infection.

Following the initial High Court ruling, which caused an uproar from the medical profession, the Government has announced its intention to strip the GMC of the power to appeal MPTS decisions. However the GMC has said it will continue until legislation changes.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Kafka-esque. 'You are unfit to practice... because we chose to suspend you. You will therefore be penalised further.'

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  • Great- what a stitch-up.

    So she can't practice because she has been forced to not practice for 3 years while being investigated.

    So innocent or guilty, right or wrong -your career is over, just because "s**t happens" on or near your watch.


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  • 'Fully remediated'
    From what?
    From being framed?

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I had assumed the GMC must assume she is impaired on the grounds that she is not white, male, etc....(nor part of the Old Boy Network)

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  • FFS is this to way to recruit or retain it is disgusting the way she has been treated.A public lynching for doing her best in a failing state healthcare system.The UK is a poisonous place for medics.

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  • It's disgusting how she has been treated. It makes you realise as a medical doctor you always have to watch your back. Even when you try and be helpful by doing the right thing like she did, you still get penalised. Would the same have happend is she was a white female. I doubt it. Dry much. It's disgusting.

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  • What a stupid argument. I wrote in the his column “ allow her to work under supervision and pay her for 6 months then judge if she is fit or not’’ . You took 6 months to tell what you could have told then. It is shameful.

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  • I pray that Dr Baba gawa returns to clinical practice and that we can all as a profession put this horrible Saga behind us and hopefully we can all move on. Most important thing is that hopefully Dr Gawa can become a much-needed paediatric consultant!

    Let us also not forget that a child died during this entire episode and I hope that they also get closure.

    Anonymous salaried!

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  • Dear All,
    err so she is impaired due to lack of face to face contact with patients, i.e. actually doing the job, because she has been suspended from, err doing the job, therefore no face to face contact with patients. And this the decision from the body that controls her ability to do the job which has also previously banned her from doing the job. Pinch me please, I appear to be in a rabbit hole overlooked by a supersized Queen of Hearts.
    Regards
    Paul C

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  • She should ask gmc to compensate for loss of earning.

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  • Am I missing something, or does the following seem logical?

    1, Dr Bawa-Garba is deemed now to be unfit to practice because she has been out of clinical work for so long.

    2. Dr BG has only been out of work because the GMC, unlawfully as has subsequently been decided in the courts, struck her off.

    3. Hence it has been the negligent practice of the GMC that has resulted in her inability to work and therefore become unsuitable to practice.

    4 (a) The GMC owed Dr BG a duty of care

    (b) The GMC have failed in that duty

    (c) Dr BG has suffered damage as a direct result of (b), both financial and personal.

    5. Dr GB has a case in tort against the GMC and should seek remedy in the civil courts.


    7. Dr BG SHOULD SUE THE GMC

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  • calling a spade a spade, we should we ashamed with ourselves they way she is still continues to be treated and "managed" by the system....could be anyone of us...

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  • The Tribunal should state clearly -
    'You are coloured, that's your problem and we are not used to acknowledging our mistakes'
    In 10 years, they will say 'lessons have been learnt' while one more colleague is put down with us helplessly watching!
    At times like this, it is hard to control the abusive terms welling up!

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  • It makes you cry for her and for the profession of medicine. Catch 22. Surely this is a matter for her employers not the GMC ? She was a trainee after all. Unfortunately what hospital will take in the poisoned chalice poisoned by theGMC???

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  • From the comments flying in the media it seems like the public know how to diagnose and treat sepsis better.

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