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In General Medical Council v Bawa-Garba [2018] EWHC 76 (Admin), the Divisional Court (Gross LJ and Ouseley J) allowed the GMC’s appeal against the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (“MPT”) to suspend Dr Bawa-Garba’s registration for 12 months. 

The Court substituted the sanction of erasure from the Medical Register.  In the leading judgment, Ouseley J described the facts as “sad and distressing”: they involved the premature death of a six year-old boy, Jack Adcock, who was admitted to the Leicester Royal Infirmary under Dr Bawa-Garba’s care. Jack’s death led to successful prosecutions for gross negligence manslaughter against both Dr Bawa-Garba and a nurse at the hospital.  Both received suspended custodial sentences. The MPT relied heavily on systemic failings at the hospital and on the shortcomings of other clinicians as mitigating Dr Bawa-Garba’s personal responsibility. The GMC argued successfully that this involved the MPT going behind the jury’s findings since these matters were relied upon by her defence at the criminal trial. The Divisional Court judgment accepts that MPT decisions on matters within its expertise should be approached with respect. However, in the present case, the MPT’s decision was simply wrong and was not sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession or to uphold professional standards. The case attracted a great deal of publicity with petitions from doctors’ groups (in support of Dr Bawa-Garba) and from Jack’s family attracting tens of thousands of signatures.

Click here for the judgment.

 Ivan Hare QC appeared for the GMC.

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