The message from the GMC at Dr Bawa-Garba’s appeal was clear; that systemic failures should not have been taken into account when determining whether an otherwise excellent doctor should be struck off. We now find ourselves in the unprecedented situation where doctors feel that on any given day in the NHS, that they too could be criminally convicted and pursued by their regulator in the courts to ensure that they will never practice medicine again. The GMC has shown it cannot be trusted to take a balanced and non-punitive approach in the context of system failures.
DAUK Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, who sat in court during the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba appeal tells GPonline: ‘Particularly concerning to all of us has been the GMC’s line of argument. To an observer, it seems the crux of their argument is that system failures were not relevant in Hadiza’s case, and should not have been taken into account by the MPTS when determining her level of culpability and her sanction.’
‘The GMC’s aggressive pursuit of an otherwise highly regarded doctor, against the advice of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), that has prompted widespread outrage amongst doctors. This serious error of judgement on the part of Mr Charlie Massey, which was also criticised by the Professional Standards Authority, has led to an unprecedented loss of confidence in the regulator by the medical profession.’
This morning a letter by Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden of The Doctors’ Assocation UK was published in the Sunday Times in response to an article published last week entitled “Top midwife: Doctors ‘hopeless at childbirth’”. The letter attracted over 1600 signatures including that of patient safety expert James Titcombe. The letter can be found below in full and an edited version on The Sunday Times website.