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GPs go forth

Struck-off junior doctor to appeal High Court decision

Dr Hazida Bawa-Garba, the junior doctor that was struck off the medical register after a controversial high court case, has decided to appeal the ruling, and is considering appealing the manslaughter conviction from 2015.

Dr Bawa-Garba has instructed barristers James Laddie QC and Sarah Hannett to lead the appeal against the High Court decision that saw the GMC strike her off the medical register.

The appeal comes after campaigners opened a crowd-funding page and raised over £300,000 to pay for Dr Bawa-Garba’s legal fees.

A statement on the crowd-funding website also said the junior doctor’s ‘legal team are in the process of considering which specialist lawyers to instruct in respect to the manslaughter conviction’.

Dr Bawa-Garba said in an earlier statement on the website that she would use the funds ‘to change to a top independent legal team, to potentially challenge the GMC and to have an independent review of the original conviction’.

Her case was initially led by the MPS but, following the court ruling, she instructed Tim Johnson Law to take over and advise on the most appropriate QCs to use.

The appeal comes after it was revealed that police and prosecutors are in discussions on whether to prosecute University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust regarding the death of 6-year-old Jack Adcock.

The High Court ruling faced significant backlash 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 a Crown Court Jury convicted her in November 2015.

But the case was met with 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.

However, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has since ordered 'rapid review' into use of manslaughter charges against doctors.

The barristers would not comment on the case but Matrix Chambers, where they practise, confirmed their involvement.

Readers' comments (28)

  • I don’t see why we pay exhorbitant fees to organisations that clearly don’t have our best interest as their top priority. The MPS and MDU fees are crippling; the farcical GMC fees are mandatory; yet at best all we can hope for is lacklustre representation and sweeping dismissal if we dare to appear disgruntled.

    Exoneration of Bawa-Garba will be in part redemption.
    Contribute to “our” cause ...

    The crowdfunding link should actually be a topic...

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Has anyone looked a the shambolic quality of her original legal team which defended the manslaughter case.

    A 5yr old who had watched 1 episode of a tv court case should have been able to get her off with all the systemic failures that occurred on that day.

    The prosecution needed to present an overwhelming case of personal negligence and from the discussions on here and details from the case published - there is no way they should have been able to do that.

    Simply the fact that a family member/mother gave enalapril that precipitated the arrest - means she was in no way to blame, as once arrested the patient is already dead.

    Her efforts to resuscitate are irrelevant as you can't kill someone who has no pulse and is not breathing as they are already dead.

    This technicality alone should have been enough to stop her - as otherwise every paramedic and doctor or nurse involved in a resuscitation attempt in the UK over many years is at risk of manslaughter. The end result - no would go near a collapsed patient in fear of this.

    Watch healthcare collapse on itself.

    The only time when a healthcare professional should ever be at risk of prosecution, is if there is any evidence of intent, foul play. If there is an error it should be leant from and prevented from happening again - and retraining as appropriate, for as long as required with supervision if needed.

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  • I agree with above but when are we all going to stop paying our GMC fees en mass????
    It’s a simple, effective, powerful, headline grabbing and non harmful protest. The only thing is we all need to do it together. They can’t strike us all off

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  • HBG must have some guts. I would have thrown the towel in long ago and said goodbye to this whole stinking mess.

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  • There is ongoing petition , to make GMC taxpayer funded and not by doctors. I accept its a only beginning but so far have managed only 22000 signature. lets get all doctors & family members , friends to sign that petition. lets raise voice . Let all of us make efforts to reach its goal of 100,000 signature then it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

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  • Best of luck Dr HBG

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  • It is absolutely shameful the way the GMC has treated this doctor and used her as a scapegoat to appease the parents and public at large. In exactly whose interests is this the correct outcome??? Please consider donating to the crowdfunding appeal to support her case- it made me feel a little less nauseous about the whole debacle.

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  • An important Test Case with Grace Implications for future Patient Care and Doctor Safety! GMC May find itself wanting and needing Urgent Reform! Interesting Times!

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  • So she has ditched her defence union (or separated by mutual agreement on this particular issue). Could this mean that they couldn't afford the best QCs? I think so. It means to me that when a really serious matter affects the whole profession (and the one) - money - which is 'muscle', becomes the big blocker. Good on Dr Quershi et al for fighting for Bawa-Garba.

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  • I sincerely hope the GMC won't spend any of GMC fees on contesting an appeal.

    In all my decades in medicine I feel we are reaching a turning point.

    Go ahead and crowdfund and sign the petition outlined above.

    Good luck !

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