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Independents' Day

Join our march to the GMC in support of Dr Bawa-Garba

Dr Catherine Beanland urges GP colleagues to join a march to the GMC in London later this month, to show their support for Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba

dr catherine beanland

As a GP and mother to a daughter who wants to study to become a doctor, I have been horrified by the case of Dr Bawa-Garba and this has motivated me to help organize a protest march in London on Thursday 22nd March in her support.

For those of you not aware, Dr Bawa-Garba is a junior doctor who attended Jack Adcock, aged 6, who unfortunately died in 2011 at Leicester Hospital. At a casual glance, it appears that Dr Bawa-Garba missed diagnosing Jack’s chest infection and sepsis, did not commence antibiotics immediately, and mistook him for another child. All these facts were presented in a court case where Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and given a suspended sentence.

Dr Bawa-Garba had only recently returned from maternity leave. At the time of Jack Adcock’s cardiac arrest, Dr Bawa-Garba had been working non-stop for 13 hours without a break. Clearly a number of mistakes were made and lessons needed to be learnt both by the doctor and the hospital management.

The General Medical Council (GMC), our regulator, was fully aware of all the above factors. However, they chose to appeal against their own advisory committee and took away Dr Bawa-Garba’s license to practise medicine permanently even though she had a hitherto unblemished record. Many doctors feel this is incredibly harsh and unfair.

This decision strikes terror into doctors’ hearts and makes them afraid of admitting to mistakes

Of course as a mother, I appreciate how heartbreaking this case has been for Jack’s parents and cannot imagine the pain they have suffered. I am not making excuses for what happened on that day, but what is there to be gained by terminating her career forever. This decision strikes terror into doctors’ hearts and makes them afraid of admitting to mistakes, makes them scared of working in the chronically understaffed wards of the NHS. Many doctors think that this could easily happen to them.

When my daughter calls me from a ward once she is a junior doctor, tired and upset saying that that is feeling overwhelmed at having to do her job as well as others due to shortages of doctors on that day, I’m not sure how I will sleep that night, worrying about her and wondering whether she is about to make a mistake which might send her to prison. I am proud to say my daughter will be coming with me to London on the 22nd of March.

Dr Catherine Beanland is a GP Partner in Shropshire. You can email her about the protest on and follow the campaign on Twitter @MarchforHadiza. The march to the GMC is on Thursday 22 March at 10am, starting from the Courts of Justice, London. Further details on the campaign website and Facebook page

N.B. This article was changed at 10:13 on the 8 March 2013 to remove some incorrect details of the case involving Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba 

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Get you T shirts and badges for the March! All proceeds for Hadiza crowdfund

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  • If I had a child whom I hated, I would encourage them to become a doctor.

    I appreciate the sentiments expressed in the article but I have 2 points to make:

    1.If people really believe that a march will achieve anything then in the absence of an urgent psychiatry appointment I would sugesst a larger dose of quetiapine;

    2.In the present climate where Islamophobia is really widespread (and often held as a belief and not expressed) do you think the good Dr Bawa-Garbas appearance is going to garner much sympathy? I think not.

    Contributing financially to her legal fees would to my mind be a more astute response.

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  • Dear IDGAF please buy a Tshirt and badge as the proceeds from this will feed into Hadiza’s fund. Most people attending the March will already have contributed anyway as I already have. The March is meant to increase pressure on the GMC to reverse their decision. The case of Dr Sellu shows it is possible. Regarding Medicine I still regard my profession as a wonderful career which I am happy to recommend to my daughter. I can confirm I am not on any antipsychotics at the present time despite the fact that I am a full time partner and do OOH. Please let’s try and be more positive or else there will be no doctors left in this country. Fighting for Hadiza’s cause will protect us all in the future.

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  • Personally, I do wish to be a doctor any longer in the UK. It is an utterly brutal place and you see that patients are getting more violent.
    This case is logically wrong, because the expert is wrong. The bloods do not show sepsis that is easy, because the Consultant missed it. In fact, someone please help, the bloods would just as easily fit dehydration and AKI in a child with V+D on an ACEI. I have seen this myself in adults and it is on the internet.
    Since the bloods DO NOT DELINEATE SEPSIS, DR BG's conviction is wrong.
    Please, any renal Physician out there, please help Dr BG.

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  • “important evidence, which was not presented in court,”

    Did Dr Beanland attend the trial?

    Unless she did and knows this assertion to be true, it is misleading to say so, and surprising that Pulse would publish this article, especially since it incites protest against the GMC.

    Look at the law governing medical regulation and you will understand that the GMC was fulfilling its job to protect the reputation of the profession, which could, arguably, be diminished by leaving patients exposed to doctors with convictions for manslaughter.

    For an evidence-based, scientific profession, it is astonishing that so many doctors are content to make and repeat assertions that they don’t know to be definitely true.

    This a dangerous game of Chinese whispers that threatens to undermine public confidence in the profession. All armchair commentators should consider the factual basis supporting their opinions before sharing them.

    As Dr Beanland states, many young doctors and medical students are already very anxious about the potential for criminal charges following medical error. It would therefore seem sensible to retain some perspective here.

    The GMC has published guidance for over a decade now on how doctors should raise concerns if they’re worried about patient safety, eg in the face of resource shortfalls. Anyone concerned not to run unreasonable risks should follow it.

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  • Thank you for this - this incorrect information has been removed.

  • I’m too afraid to attend as GMC will strike us off.

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  • Anonymous Hospital Dr who is likely or probably actually a member of the public. The GMC has already lost the confidence of GPs by the management of this case and a vote of no confidence in the GMC has already been passed. This court case should have been a case of corporate manslaughter and not one of an individual dr or nurse being blamed for system failures. The courts did not acknowledge the pressures of that day and this evidence was not taken properly into account. Nevertheless I clearly was not in court so cannot prove this, hopefully the court of appeal will listen to the case and correct this injustice. Best wishes Dr Beanland PS We am not going to stop until Dr Hadiza's name is cleared, this is a longterm campaign. Dr Sellu's case proves that injustices can be overturned.

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