GMC loses right to appeal tribunal decisions or ask for doctors’ reflective notesBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4631 (Published 10 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4631
All rapid responses
I welcome the move that would mean the GMC "will lose the legal power to require doctors to produce any reflective notes they have made about their practice" and that "it will also be stripped of its right to appeal against medical practitioners tribunal decisions that it considers to have treated doctors too leniently".
However, unless I am mistaken, I do not believe that these measures will protect the very same reflective notes from subpoena from criminal proceedings; this implication will mean that many doctors will still not trust the protection they would expect from having an honest critical review of oneself.
Interesting in the same news I note that "the government will give tribunals the power to strike off a doctor who commits a very serious criminal offence, without a hearing" although "these offences will not include gross negligence manslaughter".
This approach assumes that the successful prosecution of a medical practitioner in criminal proceedings has resulted in justice, regardless of whether the offences concerned include gross negligence manslaughter or not. To date, many doctors including myself do not accept that justice is served by the successful prosecution of Hadiza Bawa-Garba in her responsibility and contribution to the death of Jack Adcock. While some are heartened by the successful appeal in the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s decision to allow the General Medical Council (GMC) to erase Bawa-Garba’s name from the medical register, many forget that the same Court of Appeal still denied her application to appeal against the original criminal conviction of gross negligence manslaughter.
In this case, the lack of need for a hearing by the tribunal meant that the tribunal may very well rule against Bawa-Garba if there was no representation on her behalf and that the tribunal had to rely on criminal court proceedings to make their decision. This is a dangerous step backwards for all doctors who are entitled to natural justice, no matter how time-consuming and costly the process to achieve this is.
After all, even convicted criminals get an obligatory hearing at parole review, no matter how reformed they are (or not).
Doctors deserves no less.
Competing interests: No competing interests