Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba is free to practise without conditions again after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service delivered its verdict today.
The MPTS said that it was ‘in the public interest’ for the current order on her registration to be revoked with immediate effect.
The GMC, which had previously ruled that Dr Bawa-Garba should be struck off the medical register permanently, remained ‘neutral’ in the most recent hearing.
This marks the end of the case for Dr Bawa-Garba, after the death of 6-year-old Jack Adcock, who tragically died after Dr Bawa-Garba made an incorrect diagnosis of gastroenteritis with moderate dehydration when in fact he had sepsis.
Dr Bawa-Garba was found guilty of manslaughter and the GMC later struck her off the register permanently.
The case caused a huge backlash from the medical profession, including GPs, who pointed out that there were severe systemic failings that contributed to Jack’s death.
In 2017, an MPTS ruling found that Dr Bawa-Garba’s actions had fallen ‘far short of the standards expected’ and did contribute to Jack’s death. It imposed a 12-month suspension on her.
However, the GMC appealed the decision, calling for a complete erasure from the medical register, which a court upheld. But following an appeal by Dr Bawa-Garba, this was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.
In 2019, an MPTS tribunal allowed her back on the medical register with conditions, finding that her fitness to practise had been impaired by account of her extended absence from medicine.
Dr Bawa-Garba, who was a paediatrician in training at the time of Jack’s death, has been practising since November 2020 with conditions.
Today, the MPTS removed these conditions. It ruled: ‘Dr Bawa-Garba has already demonstrated sufficient insight, fully remediated following her conviction.
‘While Dr Bawa-Garba had only resumed clinical practice in November 2020, the Tribunal was struck by the volume of evidence she has been able to produce detailing all aspects of her clinical practice and the steps she has taken to ensure her skills and knowledge are now fully up to date.
‘The Tribunal took account of the multi-sourced and multi-angled feedback before it, all of which set out the view that Dr Bawa-Garba is a competent, safe and reliable clinician about whom no further concerns had been raised. Further, the Tribunal gave careful consideration to all of the testimonials provided on Dr Bawa-Garba’s behalf, all of which were positive.’
Dr Jenny Vaughan, chair of The Doctors’ Association UK and Learn Not Blame Campaign Lead, who has been supporting Dr Bawa-Garba throughout the case, said: ‘We welcome the news that Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba had her licence to practise medicine fully restored today to allow her to work independently. We are also pleased that the GMC opted for a neutral stance.’
‘Healthcare desperately needs an open, transparent, learning culture, where harm is minimised by learning from error and failings. Scandals such as Mid-Staffs, Gosport and Morecambe Bay repeatedly demonstrate how a culture of defensiveness and denial can escalate into widespread cover-up leaving families fighting for answers. The climate of fear amongst the medical profession created by the GMC’s actions over Dr Bawa-Garba only makes it more likely that this will happen again. Jack Adcock should have received better care and his death was a tragedy. Our thoughts are also with his family.’
In 2018, following the decision to uphold her erasure from the medical register, Pulse launched its ‘I am Hadiza’ campaign.
Dozens of GPs shared stories of when they had made mistakes due to overwhelming systemic pressures, similiar to the case of Dr Bawa-Garba.
On the day of Jack’s death, Dr Bawa-Garba was working her first acute shift following an 11-month period of maternity leave. Due to staff shortages, Dr Bawa-Garba was the most senior doctor covering the clinical assessment unit, the emergency department and the ward that day.
Dr Bawa-Garba was heavily involved in treating other children between 12-3pm, including a baby that needed a lumbar puncture. A failure in the hospital’s electronic computer system that day meant that although she had ordered blood tests at about 10.45am, Dr Bawa-Garba did not receive them until about 4.15pm, which also meant her senior house officer was unavailable.
Please note: the original article had a quote from Dr Jenny Vaughan saying the GMC’s neutral stance ‘allowed’ the MPTS to make its decision. We have removed this quote as the MPTS is completely independent from the GMC. We apologise for any confusion