DAUK attends GMC commissioned review into Gross Negligence Manslaughter and Culpable Homicide

DAUK attends GMC commissioned review into Gross Negligence Manslaughter and Culpable Homicide

DAUK’s treasurer Dr Rinesh Parmar attended a workshop into gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) and culpable homicide commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC). The review, previously led by Dame Clare Marx and now by eminent Cardiac Surgeon Mr Leslie Hamilton comes in the wake of the Dr Bawa-Garba case which in may aspects served as a lightning rod for the profession. The workshops, held as part of a series in England and Scotland seek to involve key stakeholders such as doctors of all grade, defence organisations and patient groups. We have maintained that the GMC plays a vital role in moving healthcare in the UK towards a just culture. Our central campaign ‘Learn not Blame’ seeks to unite doctors, healthcare professions and patient advocates who understand the vital importance of a learning culture in healthcare as a means of preventing future harm.

Earlier this year DAUK produced a comprehensive written submission to the review, highlighting the need for a series of changes to how critical incidents are managed within the NHS. Our recommendations to the review included:

  1. A higher bar for the Crown Prosecution Service to consider pursuing a prosecution for Gross Negligence Manslaughter

  2. The law on gross negligence manslaughter be urgently reformed with a legal test for GNM related to healthcare to include actions of being “wilful or reckless” and system failures considered as mitigation

  3. Appropriate training in human factors for all investigators. This would involve local investigators as well as prosecutors and medical expert witnesses.

  4. Formal appraisal of medical expert witnesses under the governance of the Medical Royal Colleges

  5. Written reflections undertaken by doctors for the purposes of education or training be subject to legal privilege

  6. An amendment to Section 35A (1A) of the Medical Act 1983 that currently allows the GMC to compel doctors and organisations to disclose written reflections for fitness to practice hearings

  7. Repeal of Section 40A of the Medical Act that allows the GMC to appeal MPTS verdicts in keeping with the recommendations of the government commissioned Williams rapid review

  8. Assurance from the Department of Health and Social Care that Parliament will not grant the GMC the power of automatic erasure for the offence of GNM

  9. The GMC commissions a comprehensive independent review into the unacceptable high rates of BAME doctors referred and undergoing fitness to practice investigations.

  10. The GMC addresses how it has become weaponised where threats of referral are made to deter and silence patient safety concerns

  11. The GMC launches a formal review of its processes and how these are linked with the unacceptable number of doctor suicides whilst under investigation.