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Independents' Day

Police 'to discuss' calls to prosecute hospital over Bawa-Garba case

Police and prosecutors are in discussion whether to charge University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust regarding the death of 6-year-old Jack Adcock.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has written to Leicestershire Police regarding the case involving Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, detailing the problems at the hospital that could amount to a ’gross breach of the trust’s duty of care to the patient’.

Leicester police have said that they have received a letter from the BAPIO concerning the death of Jack Adcock and will be ’discussing its contents with the Crown Prosecution Service.’

The case has rocked medicine after Dr Bawa-Garba was struck off by the GMC following a High Court trial, having originally been allowed to continue practising by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPTS).

Dr Bawa-Garba had been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter in 2015. She  was a registrar at the Children’s Assessment Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 18 February 2011, and the most senior doctor on the shift, when a six-year-old child with sepsis died. Dr Bawa-Garba continued to work at the hospital trust up until she was convicted by a Crown Court Jury in November 2015.

But the case sparked anger within the medical community, with hundreds of doctors writing to the GMC to voice their concerns that its actions would lead to ‘criminalisation of clinical error’ and worsen patient safety.

BAPIO’s letter highlights multiple systemic failures identified in the trust investigation, and pointed out that the MPTS had taken the trust’s role and contribution to this death into consideration.

The letter, which Pulse has seen, details organisational failures and breaches in the trust’s duty of care surrounding the death of Jack Adcock.

A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: ’We have received a letter from the BAPIO (British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) concerning the tragic death of Jack Adcock and will be discussing its contents with the Crown Prosecution Service.’

A spokesperson for the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: ‘We understand that the Police have received a letter from the BAPIO and will be discussing it with the CPS. We await the outcome of those discussions.’

Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO, said: ’The case has already sent shock waves around all medical establishments and the NHS. The GMC must now urgently inform employers that no medical trainee must work in an unsafe service and ensure that all medical practitioners are made aware that they must work within their defined limits of clinical responsibilities

’We expect the GMC to review the future role of its own legal arm, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, which it has publicly rebuked over this case. In view of the electronic portfolio of Dr Bawa-Garba being used as an instrument to prosecute her, the GMC should also make sure that trainee portfolios and medical appraisal documentation are discontinued with immediate effect until there is clarity on whether these are public property.’

Readers' comments (54)

  • See that GMC have issued a late panicky Friday night e-mail full of completely impractical and useless guidance on what to do if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous working environment (i.e. Nearly every day in the NHS thanks to current bunch of muppets in Govt).
    I smell their fear. Good.

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  • It's ridiculous that the Police have to be nudged by BAPIO to investigate furhter. What - the police couldn't see it for themselves that the issue of Corporate Homide/Manslaughter was there, right in front of their noses?

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  • It is politically cheaper in a centrally controlled system keep doctors responsible for mistakes rather than hospitals/systems as the latter requires much more funding to maintain any kind of acceptable quality than the former.

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  • Vinci Ho

    This is the reason why we all study history carefully:
    (1)One of the recommendations in the fifth report of The Shipman Inquiry, which was published in December 2004, was for the adjudication stage of fitness to practise procedures to be undertaken by a body that is independent of the General Medical Council .
    In July 2011, the GMC approved proposals to separate its presentation of fitness to practise cases from their adjudication. The adjudication would become the responsibility of a new body, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.
    In June 2012 the MPTS assumed responsibility for medical tribunals, with their panels given the power to remove or suspend a doctor’s ability to work within the UK.
    Hence , in simple terms : While fitness to practise (FTP) procedures are under the jurisdiction of GMC , the final judgment lies with MTPS.
    (2) Then this happened :
    114 doctors that had died during 2005 and 2013 inclusive and had an open and disclosed GMC case at the time of death.This was followed by GMC’s own internal review with eight recommendations on current GMC practice as well as a section on MPTS
    ‘’Doctors who commit suicide while under GMC fitness to practise investigation
    Internal Review
    Sarndrah Horsfall, Independent Consultant
    14 December 2014
    Executive Summary’’

    On MPTS , it read:
    ‘’If the matter is referred to a hearing, the MPTS may also request a health assessment if this has not been carried out during the investigation. At the end of a hearing, the MPTS panel may close the case with no action, issue a warning to the doctor, place restrictions on the doctor’s registration (when these are imposed by a panel they are called conditions), or suspend or erase the doctor from the medical register. If the concerns relate solely to the doctor’s health, and not to performance or misconduct, then a panel cannot remove a doctor from the register.
    Although MPTS hearings are generally held in public, matters relating to a doctor’s health are considered in private session. Outcomes of hearings where doctors are found to have impaired fitness to practise are published against the doctors’ names on the online medical register and any warnings remain in force for five years. However, any matters relating to a doctor’s health are treated as confidential and are not published or disclosed by the GMC or the MPTS. ‘’

    (3) This was like Donald Trump versus FBI between GMC and MPTS.
    In March 2015, changes to the Medical Act mean that the GMC gained the ability to appeal against decisions made by the MPTS.
    Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted in November 2015. One can easily postulates that GMC could not wait long to fire this new missile to appeal against MPTS’ decision.
    (4) It is now extraordinary for CPS to consider charging the Hospital trust seven years after the poor child died .
    (5) This complex , contradictory relationship between GMC and MPTS needs to be re-examined openly with clear transparency. The superhero-protector of people mindset of the GMC will , if allows itself to be ruthless , will challenge every decision made by MPTS in the future .

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  • Vinci Ho

    I will argue , deep down , the lesson of the death of those 114 doctors was never learnt.

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  • if the GMC really wish to protect patients ,and the defence organisations wish to represent doctors ( who pay them both for the privilege ) they should both be advising doctors to refuse to work shifts in hospital that are not fully staffed . otherwise the doctors are putting themselves (and their families futures ) at huge risk of GMC prosecution for the sake of trying to maintain an NHS service that is CRIMINALLY UNDERFUNDED AND UNDERSTAFFED .

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  • Lac spot on,but the establishment will not undermine itself,it only undermine the hamsters on the wheel.

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  • Who regulates hospitals regarding individual issues, such as in this case? As far as I am aware the CQC does not deal with complaints. It only does assessments of overall standards. The GMC only deals with Doctors not hospitals. So what statutory ‘body’ is the hospital as a whole answerable to? Obviously individuals can complain and PALS will help complainants. Hospitals will do internal inquiries in response to complaints, but is there not an external ‘body’ as well? One can ask a similar question in the case of a potential issue in a large APMS community service. Is it the health ombudsman? Are the police, CPS and judiciary the only external ‘bodies’?

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  • Bob Hodges

    I want to join BAPIO. Most of my post graduate training in Welsh hospitals was provided by Physicians of Indian Origin.......

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  • Yes Well done BAPIO
    Where is our BMA in all these?
    Where is the responsibility of the employer?

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