latest health care news


GPs call for better support systems to report and reflect on errors after Bawa-Garba case

The Dr. Hadiza Bawa-Garba case has caused “considerable anxiety” for GPs and trainee GPs, according to the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

Following an extensive discussion of the case at the UK Council on Friday 23 February 2018, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, has made a statement, in which she said that the case had “shaken the entire medical community in the UK.”

“The case has also caused considerable anxiety for GPs, particularly GP trainees, who are worried about the repercussions of the ruling and how it might affect the way they practise in future,” she commented.

In order for doctors to continuously improve, she explained that they must able to reflect on the care that they deliver and the systems they work within openly and honestly.

“The implications for general practice, specifically, are significant given that we work independently, largely on our own, seeing the greatest number of patients on a daily basis in the health service,” Stokes-Lampard continued.

“We do this without effective mechanisms to control our increasing workload, and a vital part of our role is to deal with uncertainty and manage risk on behalf of the NHS.”

The chair stressed that support systems need to be in place for GPs and their teams to recognise and report errors, and reflect on them so that they can be learnt from and steps can be taken to reduce the risk of them happening again.

“RCGP Council is very concerned that instead of promoting an open culture focused on learning from errors by improving systems, the unintended consequence of this tragic case could be regression to a blame culture,” the RCGP boss warned.

The college has shared guidance with its trainees on how to reflect on errors safely, and is calling for the resources to ensure that all doctors in training have adequate, and for high-quality clinical supervision, and safe staffing levels and functioning systems to be in place across the NHS.

Stokes-Lampard added: “It is important that all doctors have confidence in the organisation that regulates them, and to this end we will be working constructively with the GMC to ensure it is sensitive to the concerns of GPs, and that steps are taken to restore the confidence that has been lost.”

The council expressed “considerable concern” about the GMC’s approach to the Dr Bawa-Garba case and the way it was handled, which Stokes-Lampard said that the college intends to raise with the regulator.

The comments come almost a month after Jeremy Hunt ordered an urgent review into how manslaughter by gross negligence is applied to medical practice.

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

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

System working in an uncertain world

09/05/2019System working in an uncertain world

What, exactly, is an integrated care system? Well, it’s unclear, writes Kacey Cogle, policy advisor at NHS Providers. On the NHS England website, integrated care sy... 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 >