Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Bawa-Garba case

Second letter to the GMC chair regarding Hadiza Bawa-Garba

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 13 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k667
  1. Nick Ross, broadcaster and journalist
  1. PO Box 999, London W2 4XT, UK
  1. nick{at}

The following is a letter of 5 February 2018 to the chair of the General Medical Council.

Dear Professor Stephenson,

My last letter to you about Hadiza Bawa-Garba (9 November 2017)1 was followed by a stream of similar comments in the medical and national presses and on social media, mostly from doctors and the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges but also from non-medics like me and, not least, of course, from Jeremy Hunt. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that in striking a physician off the medical register for making mistakes you may have called into question the future of the GMC.

In statements since, you have sought to pour oil on troubled water, and your splendid chief executive, Charlie Massey, and counsel, Anthony Omo, met me with much courtesy and did their best to persuade me that you had no choice but to seek Bawa-Garba’s erasure and that you have learned important lessons from the affair.

Of course those two things are incompatible.

Many of us still find it hard to follow your logic. Your principal defence has been that to allow Bawa-Garba to continue to practise would “unpick the criminal court conviction.” That is not so. Only the courts of appeal can do that, and I hope they will.

You opted to go further than the criminal courts, and it was …

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