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Member update: After the Bawa-Garba case

The impact of the Bawa-Garba judgement on January 24th has been felt across the profession, and has created a crisis of confidence which requires a practical and urgent response.

This afternoon, a rapid review in answer to the implications has been announced by the government. HCSA intends to engage with this process at the earliest opportunity.

In the past week, HCSA has been in contact with the General Medical Council and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges over the steps required to address the many concerns raised among hospital doctors.

As a result of this we have also been invited to engage in a detailed dialogue with the GMC on the issues raised around gross negligence medical manslaughter.

In recognition of the professional concerns provoked by this case, the GMC will bring together key bodies including Royal Colleges and Medical Defence organisations and HCSA, to “explore how gross negligence manslaughter is applied to medical practice, in situations where the risk of death is a constant and in the context of systemic pressure.”

HCSA’s aims in these discussions are to:

  • Change the pathway which leads to the criminalisation of medical error by hospital doctors
  • Seek the introduction of procedural safeguards which eliminate the pursuit by the GMC of heavier sanctions than those handed down to hospital doctors by the MPTS
  • Ensure that honest reflections about practice do not lead to self-incrimination.

We shall continue to update members on the progress of this process.

However, in this immediate period we would urge all members to read the new GMC FAQ on the issue in full. We recommend too that you should refresh your knowledge of specific documents on Duty of Candour, Raising and Acting on Concerns, and Leadership and Management for All Doctors.

Together, these represent the current regulatory framework in which you and all your medical colleagues work.

It should also be remembered that GMC membership is a requirement of eligibility to practise, and we would advise all members to continue their membership and to pay their fees.