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GMC says it is 'not discriminatory' following Dr Bawa-Garba case

The GMC has refuted claims that there was discrimination in its decision to launch a High Court bid to strike off a junior doctor from the medical register last month.

In response to an open letter from the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) in January, which accused the GMC of treating black and minority ethnic doctors ‘differently and harshly’, the GMC said the accusations were ‘troubling and without merit’.

The GMC’s letter said: ‘We do understand the strength of feeling this tragic case has raised for many doctors. We know we can’t simply undo all the anxiety generated by it but we are committed to listening to doctors and addressing their concerns.

‘However, the charge that the GMC acts in a discriminatory way is troubling and without merit.’

The original letter from BAPIO called on the GMC to make clear what monitoring is in place regarding differential treatment of BME doctors, and how many times the GMC has questioned fitness-to-practise verdicts against non-BME doctors.

The GMC’s letter responded that it conducts ‘detailed research to improve our understanding of what drives overrepresentation of different groups, and whether cases are treated fairly’.

It added: ‘The consistency of our fitness to practise decision-making is also audited independently to ensure it is in line with our published guidance, and is not discriminatory.’

However, Dr Ramesh Mehta, chair of BAPIO, told Pulse that he was ‘not really keen’ on the GMC’s response and plans to write a further open letter to the GMC.

Dr Mehta said: ‘Our main issue was about criminalising a doctor and there’s no mention of that in the response. Our issue was that they shouldn’t have reversed the decision of MPTS and there is hardly any mention of that. 

‘We wanted to find out what they think of systems failures rather than criminalising a doctor but there is hardly anything about it. So we are not really keen.’

The concerns from BAPIO come after the GMC appealed against its own tribunal service, which said that Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba should be reinstated on the performers’ list following her two-year suspended sentence for gross negligence manslaughter.

Dr Bawa-Garba was subsequently struck off the medical register as a result of the High Court ruling

However following a crowd funding campaign, which has raised over £335,000, Dr Bawa-Garba has decided to appeal the ruling, and is considering appealing the manslaughter conviction from 2015.

Readers' comments (34)

  • Whatever we may think about it, Dr Bawa Garba was convicted of a serious crime by a jury for which she received a prison sentence (suspended). Dr Bawa Garba appealed the verdict and was turned down. The MPTS tribunal made a mistake in the way it approached Dr Bawa Garba’s case but nevertheless said her fitness to practise was impaired and suspended her. The GMC appealed the decision to the High Court and both judges thought that the doctor should be struck off and that’s what happened.

    Which of the steps in this process is racist? Jurors? Original judge? Appeal court? MPTS? GMC? High Court? All of them?

    If you consider this to be a racist process then where is the evidence for this?

    As a profession we are in danger of being pilloried by the public for an emotional rather than evidence based response.

    Dr Bawa Garba may win an appeal in due course but would even that outcome prove that the actions/decisions of any involved were racially motivated rather than flawed?

    Good luck to Dr Bawa Garba in what ever she decides to do next. She has been through more than we will ever know.

    Good luck to the family of Jack Adcock who have suffered something no parent should have to endure.

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  • And who gave Jack the enalapril again?

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Point of law anyone - Did Dr BG cause the arrest by personally administering the Enalapril? No it was a family member (?Mum)

    Therefore he arrested and died. Dr BG attended a dead patient and tried to bring them back to life and this was unsuccessful.

    If Jack was dead before she arrived on the scene - how was she responsible for killing a patient who was already dead? This is impossible.

    The causal suggested chain of might have had a n impact on his care/outcome all comes to a halt - where someone else actively administered Enalapril which changed the course of a recovering patient into a hypotensive arrest.

    Even if she called the arrest efforts to halt earlier than hind sight suggests - even though continuing for longer had no guarantee of success.

    You can never manslaughter a dead patient - through a failed arrest effort - as they were dead before you start.

    If any idiot tries to argue otherwise - there would never be another arrest effort - through fear of failure to bring the dead back to life leading to a prison sentence and loss of your medical status - doctor or nurse, or any other scape goat.

    'Dissenter argues the process was not racist - however as Professor Cato's experience of missing sepsis leads to knighthood and president status - Dr BG, not the consultant in charge, not the family member who administered the Enalapril, is the one the CPS decided fit the profile of Scape goat - and the flawed system, with its b81151t bias of withholding key evidence from the jury, which we know from recent collapsed rape trials, is one of the Ace's the CPS uses to falsely persecute (sorry prosecute) defendants in trial cases.

    This travesty of justice, where the judge in the original trial was negligent in allowing anything other than overwhelming negligence to be proven prior to allowing a guilty verdict, which was not even plausible in this case of systemic avalanche of disasters, which provided miles of probable doubt and alternative targets for prosecution.

    Here the overwhelming systemic failure - should allow fingers to be pointed at senior managers, hospital HR, the directors, local NHS England as commissioners allowing such shoddy work conditions and staffing, the DOH and our beloved health secretary, and right up to the PM, for allowing vanity projects like trident and HS2, PFI hospital deals and privatisation to take money from front line NHS care.

    Sadly the law was changed to stop the health secretary being personally responsible for the NHS in the healthcare bill - but he certainly is asleep at the wheel for this one.

    Dr BG is a training doctor who did her best in impossible stacked circumstances - and the powers that be targeted her to be the scape goat - that was followed by the GMC being guilty of the same - when they failed to protect a doctor who was a victim of a miscarriage of justice - and instead they lynched her again -

    All those in the GMC responsible for this should hang their heads in shame and resign - you don't represent me, and not in my name - or the thousands of health professionals who are not institutionally racist.

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  • So still no actual evidence of racism then? Just continued abuse of the parents and conspiracy theories...

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  • Just your average joe-well written. Spot on.

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  • Just your average Jo ,correct.

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  • Thanks Jo. The GMC in my book are beneath contempt.

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  • Council of Despair

    Dissenter | Salaried GP12 Feb 2018 11:06pm

    So still no actual evidence of racism then? Just continued abuse of the parents and conspiracy theories...

    - asking legitimate questions on why the family gave the medication is not abuse but a serious attempt to look into an important aspect of the chain of causality. It may also help to prevent future incidents but if this crucial area is ignored it means all of us are at risk in cases where third parties do things without our knowledge. Let's say you see a patient with migraine and you prescribe migraleve but the patient decides to take the whole amount and heroin as well and OD's. You then get charged for manslaughter as you failed to mention to take the medication as prescribed and NOT to take other opiates. As crazy as it sounds that is my reading of our liability so it needs to be established that doctors can't be held responsible for actions that third parties decide to take.

    In regards to conspiracy theories - I would say that there is a real concern by colleagues that the GMC is bias but I do agree there needs to be firm evidence but that evidence is only going to be found if the GMC is more open and allows scrutiny of itself and it's process.

    My personal view is that the GMC will do anything to protect it's image and it felt that it was in it's own interests (not of the profession) to deal with the cse in this manner as it generates positive press from the family and the public. However, they should have known that there were going to be consequences and as such they have failed the profession and their own safety agenda. Remember they get paid for one thing only - protection and safety of the public. They have now created a more unsafe environment. I am angry as we are accountable but the GMC escapes that scrutiny and accountability.

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  • doctordog.

    I believe ‘ playing the racist card’ in this case is incorrect and deflects attention from all the other serious issues.

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  • Well said just your average Joe
    I agree the conviction for manslaughter is very likely wrong.

    The case a few years ago where 100mg of diamorphine resulted in the death of a patient did not result in a mandlaughter charge.
    I just wonder whether there has been any behind the scenes political interference. I note the GMC has been criticised previously by government for not being robust enough.

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