Doctors, Lawyers, Patient Safety Advocates, Medical Educators
United Kingdom

There has been huge interest (in the BMJ and New Statesman) in the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba who the GMC are seeking erasure from the medical register at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand on Thursday December 7th.

In February 2011, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba a junior paediatric trainee was on duty at the Leicester Royal Infirmary when a young patient tragically died of sepsis. Hadiza was devastated at his death.

The Crown Prosecution Service at first told her there was no case, but Hadiza and a nurse were convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in late 2015. This was despite the fact that there were multiple other failings including IT, nursing, junior and senior staff failings. There were also major systems failures in the hospital. The jury did not hear about all of these as a legal loophole meant that many improvements made afterwards the prosecution argued could be “excluded “.

We are concerned about the GMCs actions for erasure and aim to get the attached letter published in a newspaper prior to December 7th.


We are concerned that the General Medical Council (GMC) is risking a culture of candour in medicine and perpetuating an injustice by seeking through the High Court the permanent erasure from the medical register of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba.

Dr Bawa-Garba, a trainee paediatrician, was convicted in 2015 of negligent manslaughter after the tragic death of Jack Adcock from sepsis in 2011.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) then had to decide if she was fit to continue to practice. It heard that her clinical practice was generally regarded as excellent, with no other concerns flagged against her, and that she had openly addressed the deficiencies which resulted in the child’s death. It recommended she could apply to return to service as a doctor after 12 months suspension which ends this month. The MPTS identified "multiple systemic failures" within the service. The evidence for these failures was not fully examined at the criminal trial and had they been, this would almost certainly have reduced her purported culpability.
The GMC is now appealing, seeking to have her struck off. We know of no evidence that terminating Dr Bawa-Garba's medical career will make any patient safer. On the contrary it promotes a climate of defensiveness.

In 2001, the joint declaration by the Government and the medical profession recognised that 'honest failure should not be responded to primarily by blame and retribution, but by learning and by a drive to reduce risk for future patients.'

We urge the GMC to recognise that many within and outside medicine are already losing confidence in it and that this case could define its future.

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The Letter to the media re GMC and Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba petition to Doctors, Lawyers, Patient Safety Advocates, Medical Educators was written by Dr David Nicholl and is in the category Health at GoPetition.