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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)

  • I woke up every morning as a GP before Going work, having palpitations and butterflies in my stomach thinking of my GMC registration being at risk until I finish my work for the day .
    GMC has become the Judge and the Jury and the MPTS Calender is filled to the brim with Doctors waiting to be slaughtered rightly or wrongly.
    My feeling is not right and it should not be like this but this Dr Barwa -Gaba's case has further and further reinforced my feelings and there is no stopping me from having my palpitations and butterflies for now as a bad way coping mechanism. No thanks to the almighty GMC!!

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  • Much discussion about racism and no evidence etc , obviously this isn't something that can or will be proven against the GMC or an organisation unless it was clearly stated in some policy, email , memo etc ( highly unlikely ).

    Perhaps an objecive start would be case analysis comparison. Dr X White committed similar misconduct to DR Y Black , Dr Y got struck off and Dr X got a warning type approach. Does race play a card in judgements made? I don't know because there is no 'evidence' but what I do know is I see decisions like in this article and think hmm interesting .

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  • Just Your Average Joe

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  • Just your average infantile comment in response to anyone who might challenge the mass hysteria.

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  • GMC has no concerns or issues with Dr Bawa Garba's 'white' consultant who was absent from wards when it was understaffed.
    He has remained blameless while the doctor who did her best is a risk to patients and public

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  • It is an institutionallyl racist oragnisation .I think this is very clear . How can you explain the astounding excess of black and ethnic minority doctors being called up for GMC investigation .
    International doctors from south asian subcontinent should be PROACTIVELY informed andadvised about this before being recruited to the UK , so that they could make an INFORMED DECISION as to whether they really want to work in this climate !

    Also , sad as it is for me to acknowledge this , I fear there is a pervasive racially determined lean towards complaints towards doctors in the NHS in general
    Seems like being an asian male GP here is a serious risk factor for complaints !

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  • Hahahahaha I dont know whether to laugh or cry at the cogswallop spewed out by the gmc these days. There are so many things wrong with the bawa garba case that I don't even know where to start!

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  • This arrogant organisation is not fit for purpose. Lay people judging professional's work. The email they sent us basically says they expect us to take the risk, refuse to apologise and Dr BG is expected to escalate to a non existent senior and spend time filling in the escalation form and she is still expected to see the crowd of patients afterwards. This case is far from over. In 2015 there was another whistle blower Dr Day on staff shortages that had their career ruined.

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  • Dissenter. You give a very political response. You did not comment on the enalapril. If the one that gave the enalapril was a nurse or doctor we all know what the GMC or judge's response is. The law has failed to deliver justice. Our basic human rights have gone.

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    Could the GMC detail the ethnicity / sex of its board members / MPTS ?
    and recruit a good representat mix

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