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GMC ‘learnt a great deal’ from Bawa-Garba case, says chief

learning from Bawa-Garba case

The GMC learnt ‘a great deal’ about supporting doctors’ wellbeing from the high-profile 2018 legal case concerning Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, its chief executive told MPs today.

Responding to a question from health select committee chair Jeremy Hunt, GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said that his ‘deepest learning’ was ‘about the role that we as a professional regulator need to play in driving improvements in workplace culture and supporting wellbeing’.

His comments come after the GMC faced widespread criticism from the medical community at the time for not taking into account the systemic pressures at the hospital where Dr Bawa-Garba was practising when six-year old Jack Adcock died in 2015.

Since the Court of Appeal finally decided to reinstate Dr Bawa-Garba to practise in 2018, the GMC has updated its fitness-to-practise processes, including training FTP investigators to recognise ‘human factors’.

Speaking today, Mr Massey said: ‘We learnt a great deal – the issues of human practice techniques came directly out of that case.’

He highlighted reports since produced by the GMC, including on BAME doctors being more likely to be subject to FTP complaints, as well as on the wellbeing of doctors.

He added: ‘So that case has actually taken us much more directly into thinking about the role we can play in creating more sustainable, supportive and inclusive workplaces for doctors and other healthcare professionals.’

Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence in 2015 following the death of six-year-old Jack at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011.

The doctor received a 24-month suspended sentence for the conviction and was suspended from practice for one year by the MPTS.

Following legal advice, the GMC then appealed this decision to only suspend Dr Bawa-Garba, which succeeded in January 2018 and led to Dr Bawa-Garba being struck off the register.

The Court of Appeal heard that the GMC wanted the decision to be replaced with erasure because suspension was ‘not sufficient to protect the public’. 

There was then widespread criticism about the decision by doctors who said systemic pressures at the hospital Dr Bawa-Garba worked at were not taken into account in the case.

In 2018, the Court of Appeal judges ruled in her favour and restored the former MPTS decision to only suspend Dr Bawa-Garba from the register, rather than strike her off. It pointed out that the legal advice the GMC received was not correct.

In 2019, papers published revealed it had been advised to appeal the case because it was necessary in order to protect public interest and the reputation of the profession.


Just My Opinion 19 January, 2021 6:38 pm


John Graham Munro 19 January, 2021 8:40 pm


Patrufini Duffy 19 January, 2021 10:59 pm

The “role we can play”…chuckle…is fictional, comedy and panto.

Turn out The lights 20 January, 2021 6:32 am

Still not gone yet Mr Massey.

Turn out The lights 20 January, 2021 6:41 am

Will not forgive or forget.

Esmat Bhimani 20 January, 2021 9:41 am

So we doctors pay costly GMC fees for the GMC to protect the public, not the doctors who are paying the fees.

David Turner 20 January, 2021 10:20 am

The GMC are the exact opposite of what an organisation in a modern democracy should be.

They sit in judgement over doctors with the presumption of guilt, the unfortunate doctor in question having to prove their innocence-the exact reverse of normal justice in a civilised country.
The burden of proof they have to reach to find a doctor guilty of negligence is civil, not the higher and arguably fairer higher criminal burden of proof.
By most measures they are institutionally racist.
The suicide rate amongst doctors undergoing investigation by this organisation is hard testament to the above.
If this organisation were a publicly funded body it would long ago been found unfit for purpose and disbanded.

Charles Massey’s salary £240-250 K –QED

David jenkins 20 January, 2021 11:09 am

i learned a lot from bawa garba too !

inside my briefcase i have a laminated card with “bawa garba” on it in capitals. and opposite me on the wall in my room. and on my computer screen.

this is to remind me every single time i do something, that some shit, somewhere, is going to try to catch me out.

if there is anything at all which has any risk, then i find a way of avoiding it.

this is a massive waste of everyone’s time, a massive waste of money, and slows down the working day. but it makes my future more certain, and i can sleep at night. documenting everything takes longer, and i can see fewer patients in the time avaiilable.

all because some jobsworths cannot accept the system is not perfect, and that a lot of “errors” are in fact due to constraints put on us by those whose job is to actually set up a safe working environment for those at the sharp end.

if bawa garba had been found “not culpable” it would have meant that “the system” itself was somehow to blame………….and we can’t have that can we ?

what a massive waste of time, money, and manpower has resulted !

just imagine how much we could all acheive if those “at the top” admitted their failings, and tried to imorove things instead of aiming the flak at the workers !!!

Cameron Wilson 20 January, 2021 11:23 am

Aye Charlie, you don’t fool us! When it’s a choice between saving your image to the politicians and media or being objective and sensible when a beleaguered doctor is the victim of systemic failure, we all know which way you will choose!

Concerned GP 20 January, 2021 12:10 pm

The GMC should hang it’s head in shame over the handling of this case. Their behaviour was beyond contempt. I’m not convinced they have learnt anything.

Decorum Est 20 January, 2021 12:15 pm

Aye Charlie, and you’re piss poor at maths as well…and the ‘majority’ of doctors wish you a quiet retirement…

Patrufini Duffy 20 January, 2021 2:51 pm

“Learnt a great deal” – the words racist, hypocritical, ugly, abhorrent, persecutory, bitter, selfish, irresponsible come to mind. Just words, on reflection.

John Glasspool 20 January, 2021 4:56 pm

Spot on DJ!

Anonymous 20 January, 2021 7:16 pm

As I said to his predecessor what if all those doctors had committed suicide under my care what did he think the GMC would have done to me?
As far as I know no one at the GMC was held responsible for those doctors’ deaths
We “have learnt a great deal” means nothing
Janine O’Kane

David Church 20 January, 2021 9:02 pm

Hadiza killed nobody. The senior Medical Management at the hospital did – and they have not even been publicly named, leave alone held to account?

Samir Shah 1 February, 2021 6:12 pm

Spot on DJ