The Doctors’ Association UK attended a roundtable meeting at the House of Lords this morning to address the growing concerns about bullying and harassment in the NHS. The meeting was organised by the General Medical Council (GMC), hosted by Dr Philippa Whitford MP and was attended by key stakeholders including Royal Colleges, NHS Employers, NHS Improvement, the BMA, MPs and Peers. Our members were represented by our Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, Vice-Chair Dr Rinesh Parmar who is leading our work on NHS bullying and undermining and our Law and Policy Lead Dr Jenny Vaughan. This meeting brought together various streams of our work including #NHSMeToo, #CompassionateCulture and #LearnNotBlame.
Today, there is widespread relief amongst the medical profession. However, the verdict is no cause for celebration. At the heart of this case is a child, Jack Adcock, who tragically lost his life to sepsis. Our hearts go out to the Adcock family as they continue to grief for Jack. When a child dies it is our duty as doctors to do all we can to prevent the same tragedy from occurring again. We strongly feel that scapegoating an individual doctor or clinician for human errors made whilst whilst working under enormous pressure, does not serve this purpose. Instead, the criminalisation of medical error creates a culture of fear and blame, where clinicians feel afraid to speak up, afraid to reflect, and afraid to learn when things go wrong. Therefore we welcome the verdict of the Medical Tribunal Practitioners Service today, who, after considering all the system failures and the context in which Dr Bawa-Garba made errors, has found her safe to return to medical practice.
This week we got in touch with DAUK member Dr Joanna Poole, an anaesthetic registrar whose post about wanting to quit medicine went viral on Twitter. DAUK were able to support Joanna and were able to help see this piece published in The Guardian on Joanna’s behalf. Now, Joanna is joining forces with DAUK to encourage doctors to speak out as part of DAUK’s #NHSMeToo campaign. Yesterday, we published a thread of such stories which has been widely shared, and has even been commented on and retweeted by the Health Secretary. Read The Guardian article here.
Yesterday Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, our Chair gave her thoughts on Brexit in an interview with ITV news alongside Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair BMA Council.
Sammy spoke about the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine’s (FICM) report Critical Capacity, which outlined that staffing of intensive care units in the UK is a national problem.
We are grateful to BMJ for publishing this paper, written by our Law and Policy Officer Dr Jenny Vaughan in conjunction with Dr Ameratunga, Dr Klonin Dr Merry and Dr Cusack, and giving it front page profile. We hope it will be a game-changer for the UK and that no other clinicians, be they doctors, nurses or optometrists will find themselves in front of a criminal court unless they have recklessly and wilfully caused death.
This morning a letter by Dr Rinesh Parmar of The Doctors’ Association UK was published in The Times in response to an article published last week entitled “Health service is chaotic and dysfunction, says NHS chief”. Whilst we all recognise areas in which the NHS can improve, stating that NHS staff have lost their vocation cannot be further from the everyday reality of frontline staff going the extra mile for patients. Read the full letter here.