Our Statement of the High Court ruling on GMC v Bawa-Garba

7 February 2018

On 26th January 2018 the High Court ruled that Dr Bawa-Garba will be struck off the medical register. The Intensive Care Society has been following this case closely and we extend our sympathy to all those involved in the dreadful circumstances leading to this High Court judgement. We are however concerned about how this judgement might impact on our medical, nurse and AHP members and indeed our speciality. Decision making in medicine, particularly in acute specialities such as ours in which decisions often have to be made quickly, is not a precise art or science. Medical “error” should lead to open reflection, sharing, discussion and learning. It should not lead to punishment which in itself can only make medical error more likely to recur.

 

Our junior AHPs, nurses and doctors must receive high quality supervision and support with decision making from seniors to protect them but also allow them to work effectively. We must not allow this judgement to discourage us from reflecting and discussing issues openly. We must remember that medical error is rarely the result of one individual’s actions. There are usually multiple factors involved and today’s pressurised and under-staffed NHS can only make the challenge even greater.

The Intensive Care Society certainly prioritises patient safety but we also prioritise our members. We will do all we can to ensure that this judgement does not harm our patients or members.

Gary Masterson

President, the Intensive Care Society