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GMC on the ropes

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It was an emphatic line from the Court of Appeal: ‘Undoubtedly, there are some cases where the facts are such that the most severe sanction, erasure from the medical register, is the only proper and reasonable sanction. This is not one of them.’

As a result of the ruling, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba is allowed to practise again. Few GPs will be unaware of the case (though, if you are, our timeline should help).

And the weight of opinion has turned against the GMC, and its decision to take its own tribunal to court to erase Dr Bawa-Garba from the medical register.

I’ve argued that there are good intentions within the GMC. Its efforts to tackle burnout among doctors and to address the racial differentials in doctors facing complaints are to be commended.

Without a strong response to this ruling any other positive GMC work will be lost

But the regulator is on the ropes, and needs to make a concerted effort to appeal to the profession. It can start with dropping its push for new powers to strike more doctors off the register, and ensure that no doctor is branded a criminal for life for making an honest mistake at work – especially when there are huge system failings.

Without a strong response to this ruling, any of the positive work being done by the GMC will get lost.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at