The General Medical Council (GMC) must take urgent steps to repair its relationship with doctors, the Independent Review of Gross Negligence Manslaughter and Culpable Homicide has concluded.
The review was commissioned by the GMC following the prosecution and conviction of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba for gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock. The findings of the review, published last week, show that the impact of the case has been “palpable and profound across the medical profession”.
The report says: “Many doctors feel unfairly vulnerable to criminal and regulatory proceedings should they make a mistake which leads to a patient being harmed. The depth of this feeling has resulted in a breakdown in the relationship between many doctors and their regulator, the GMC. The GMC must take urgent steps to repair that relationship so that it is better able to work with and support doctors in delivering a high standard of care for their patients.”
It adds: “The vulnerability felt by many doctors reflects their sense of working in healthcare services that are under considerable strain and where individuals trying to do their best for their patients can too easily be blamed for mistakes arising from wider system failures."
“Healthcare service providers have a responsibility for the environments in which doctors practise and when things go wrong to the extent that a doctor faces criminal investigation, the appropriate external authorities should scrutinise the systems within the department where the doctor worked,” the review stated.
The GMC says it fully accepts the “challenge” of regaining the trust of the profession. “Having reflected as an organisation, we are committed to acting on that and taking forward all the recommendations in this report directed to us,” Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC said in a statement.