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Independents' Day

GMC gross negligence manslaughter review to look at 'diversity matters'

The GMC’s review into how gross negligence manslaughter is applied in medicine will look at ‘diversity matters’ around doctors that come under investigation, it has been announced.

This comes after the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) said that the ‘pursuit’ of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba ‘reflects the inherent bias that exists within the GMC’, with the GMC responding that the accusations were ‘troubling and without merit’.

The GMC also announced the review, which was announced in January following doctors’ concerns after the GMC's successful high court appeal to strike off a doctor convicted of the offence, will be led by Dame Clare Marx, chair of the faculty of medical leadership and management.

Dame Clare said that while gross negligence manslaughter convictions involving doctors ‘are rare’, there is ‘a critical need to examine the wider issues around how these cases’.

She said: ‘Each step of the process will be explored from local investigations post incidents, to diversity matters surrounding the doctors subject to investigation and whether regulatory processes at the GMC could be improved in such cases.

‘Doctors are often working in an immensely pressurised system where mistakes can happen.'

In a statement, the GMC said the review will also look at ‘the pathway leading from reporting to investigation and prosecution; distinguishing between errors and exceptionally bad failings; the role of expert witnesses; and the need for reliable data to support a genuine understanding of incidence and trends'.

After the high court verdict, GPs raised concerns about the use of reflections in the trial, with some saying that GPs ‘can no longer reflect openly and honestly, so the chances to learn from our mistakes is gone’.

However, the GMC said their review, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, ‘aims to support doctors in raising concerns and encourage reflective practice, while improving patient safety’.

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘As well as addressing the issues with criminal prosecutions a further aim of this review is to encourage a renewed focus on enabling a learning, no-blame culture, reflective practice and provision of support for doctors in raising concerns.’

Shortly after the GMC announced its review, the health secretary also announced a ‘rapid review’ into manslaughter charges, with the GMC adding that the two reviews 'will inform each other'.

Readers' comments (18)

  • Just Your Average Joe

    Editor - please can we have a no confidence in GMC - CM should resign vote on set up - let the profession be given a chance to show support for the GMC if they feel they can/can't.

    GMC saying they are not racist - is like when Trump said he is the least racist person he knows! Trump doesn't think he is racist, and GMC doesn't - but the world knows.

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  • The GMC will probably 'solve' this problem by increasing the amount of white doctors they persecute whilst leaving the numbers of BME doctors the same.
    Result - more 'bad' doctors struck off and race ratio improves.
    Gongs and awards all round!

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  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Dear Pulse - lets have a Poll on the homepage " do you have faith in the GMC - yes/no" or something to that affect in regards to this case.

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  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    ps: does anyone know if the Leicester Deanery are taking any responsibility or getting any sh*t? they should be but ive heard nothing from them or whether there's an inquest onto their staffing problems and huge failings on the day

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  • WHAT ABOUT BAWA-GARBA. how is that going to help her . if you were bawa-garba then you want to know what will happen to individual who are suffering. review is very good but meaningless word.

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  • Why isn’t the BMA leading a campaign for us all not to pay our GMC fees. It’s about protecting patients so why isn’t it coming out of general taxation. We are paying both prosecutors and defence fees. WHY?????

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  • If you look at this case carefully
    V+D giving rise to Dehydration,AKI in a child on ACEI ? Infection.
    Given O2, fluids and antibiotics.
    Thousands of doctors think this a very reasonable diagnosis and treatment.
    In fact, severe V+D does not automatically make you think Sepsis, more Gastroenteritis.
    Yet, the EXPERT WITNESS in HIS OPINION thought DR BG's actions so TERRIBLE as to lead to MANSLAUGHTER conviction.
    It is not the fault of the Judge or Jury. They believe expert witnesses.
    So, Paediatricians and Professors who think differently from the expert witness should say so in a clear letter to the Lord Chief Justice.
    This case really hinges on one EXPERT witness who said ' Proper Treatment' would have saved poor Jack.
    What was that treatment and when in a timeline of that day in an IMPROVING child should Dr BG be aware of her ' terrible diagnosis' and treatment?
    My opinion is worthless, we need Professors to stand up and say that what Dr BG did was fine in her TIMELINE. Sepsis was a later diagnosis.
    In Any case , Thousand don't believe that poor Jack could not have survived the ACEI, no matter what ' Proper treatment' Jack was given.

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