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Bawa-Garba case has left profession shaken and stirred

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 29 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k456
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The erasure of the trainee paediatrician from the UK register has made doctors anxious and raised questions about what’s next for the patient safety agenda, reports Clare Dyer

The case of Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was struck off the UK medical register by the High Court on 25 January,1 could be a tipping point in the way the criminal justice and regulatory systems deal with doctors whose failings play a part in their patients’ deaths.

Her case has sparked a realisation in the medical profession and government that a system that heaps the blame on an individual for wider hospital failures could stop the development of a no-blame culture in its tracks, further endangering patients’ safety.

Within hours of the judgment, Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health and social care for England, pronounced himself “totally perplexed” by the General Medical Council’s decision to appeal against a medical practitioners tribunal conclusion that Bawa-Garba should be suspended from the register but not struck off, despite her conviction for manslaughter by gross negligence.

By lunchtime on Monday 29 January supporters had raised more than £200 000 (€230 000; $280 000) to crowdfund advice on appeals against both the High …

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