latest health care news


Dr Bawa-Garba case reveals ‘deeply concerning issues’ in NHS

The death of a six year old boy has highlighted a number of “deeply concerning issues,” the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has said.

The warning comes following last week’s High Court ruling, which saw Dr. Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in 2015, removed from the medical register.

Whilst the Academy did not wish to comment on the specifics of the case, in a statement it has outlined issues which it says must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

It argues that doctors in training must be given adequate supervision, even in stressful, pressured environments.

The Academy argued that decision making must have sufficient consultant oversight in order to protect both junior doctors and their patients, whilst allowing them to work and develop.

Safe and effective care is delivered through systems, each part of which must function. The Academy has warned that this includes safe staffing levels, functioning IT, and supporting those returning to work.

It added that these systems must be “scrutinised as a whole and improved in the light of near misses, safety incidents or patients being harmed.”

Medical profession at ‘crunch point’

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association council chair, said that the medical profession is at “crunch point” and echoed the sentiment that the case has raised wider concerns about how to protect patients and support doctors working in a health service which is under “extreme pressure.”

He explained that a number of factors, including a lack of resources and staff shortages, combine to impair clinicians’ abilities to provide safe, high quality care.

“It is vital that these critical system pressures are addressed by politicians, as well as this being fundamental to the GMC's aim of ensuring patient safety.”

The Academy added that staff must be able to reflect honestly, openly and safely, without fear of recrimination as part of the learning process: “The threat of this being used in a potentially negative way may potentially promote a lack of candour as well as loss of learning opportunities.”

Nagpaul also expressed concerns that how this important professional development and learning tool is used: “It is important that patient safety is not undermined through clinicians being deterred from engaging with reflective practices about patient care for fear of reprisal.

It is vital that we promote a culture of support and openness in the NHS that addresses the root causes of the pressures undermining doctors' ability to do their best for patients.”

Top image: Richard Vernalls

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >


Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

07/12/2019Mike Farrar, Swim England - Last Word

Mike Farrar Chairperson of Swim England Would you talk us through... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Too much emphasis on leadership development… and not enough

24/02/2020Too much emphasis on leadership development… and not enough

Words by Dean Royles and Kevan Taylor, who continue their regular contribution to NHE’s blog content. Kevan and Dean work in organisations and systems providing strategi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >