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BMA applies to ‘intervene’ in Bawa-Garba appeal case

The BMA will apply to advise the Court of Appeal in the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case after she was granted permission to appeal a controversial High Court ruling last week.

The BMA has said it welcomes the court’s decision to grant Dr Bawa-Garba permission to appeal, adding that it is ‘applying to intervene’ in the case.

This means that the BMA would be able to provide written submissions to the court that provide insight into professional issues associated with the case.

Dr Bawa-Garba’s application to appeal against the High Court’s ruling that she should be struck off the medical register was approved last week by Rt Hon Lord Justice Simon, who said the case met the second appeal test ‘in all respects’.

The case, which saw the GMC appealing against the ruling of its own tribunal, has riled the medical profession.

The second appeal test requires the case to ‘have a real prospect of success’ and ‘raise an important point of principle or practice’ or requires ‘some other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear it’.

BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Given the impact of the High Court ruling on Dr Bawa-Garba, the wider medical profession, and the public, we welcome the decision to grant Dr Bawa-Garba permission to appeal.

‘The BMA will be applying to intervene in the appeal to assist the court and seek to achieve the best possible outcome for the profession.’

The profession previously expressed their anger at the High Court decision with GP leaders declaring that they have no confidence in the GMC at last month’s LMCs conference.

This comes after GMC chief executive told Pulse that he had ‘no choice’ but to pursue Dr Bawa-Garba in the High Court, after taking legal advice, which suggested the Medical Practitioners Tribunal service ‘erred in law in the way in which they reached their conclusions’ to suspend the junior doctor.

The Bawa-Garba case

The case of Dr Bawa-Garba, whose ‘catalogue of errors’ a court said contributed to the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock from sepsis, has prompted concern from the health secretary, the medical royal colleges and the BMA. 

The concern has focused specifically on the use of Dr Bawa-Garba’s own reflections in her e-portfolio – although these particular documents were not used in the case.

It most recently prompted delegates at last month’s UK LMCs Conference to call on the BMA to advise GPs to ’disengage from written reflection in both appraisal and revalidation’ until new safeguards are put in place.

Following the case, the GMC is carrying out a review into how gross negligence manslaughter is applied in medicine, which will also look at ‘diversity matters’. 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt also ordered a ‘rapid review’, led by former Royal College of Surgeons president Professor Sir Norman Williams, due to report back to the House of Commons this month.