latest health care news


Marx to lead gross negligence manslaughter review following Bawa-Garba case

Dame Clare Marx is to lead a review into how manslaughter by gross negligence is applied to medical practice, spanning every step of the process from local investigations post-incident to diversity matters, the GMC has announced.

Marx, who is chair of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management and former Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England president, will lead the work that will bring together defence organisations and patient, legal and criminal justice experts from across the UK to analyse how existing processes can be improved.

The review, which will inform the Department of Health and Social Care’s urgent review ordered by health and care secretary Jeremy Hunt, will look at the pathway from reporting to investigation and prosecution, distinguishing between errors and exceptionally bad failings, the role of expert witnesses, and the need for reliable data to support a true understanding of incidence and trends.

The GMC says that the aim is to support doctors in raising concerns and to encourage reflective practice, as well as improving patient safety.

It comes following a High Court ruling that saw Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of a child in 2015, removed from the medical register – a decision that saw wide criticism from the profession and experts.

Dame Marx said that there is a “critical need” to examine the wider issues around the investigation of these cases, and the expertise and consistency applied to those investigations.

“Each step of the process will be explored from local investigations post incidents, to diversity matters surrounding the doctors subject to investigation and whether regulatory processes at the GMC could be improved in such cases,” she added.

“Doctors are often working in an immensely pressurised system where mistakes can happen. This work will be valuable for the medical profession and I am pleased the GMC has decided to take this work forward.”

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said that Marx’s experience would be “extremely valuable” in the review.

“As well as addressing the issues with criminal prosecutions a further aim of this review is to encourage a renewed focus on enabling a learning, no-blame culture, reflective practice and provision of support for doctors in raising concerns,” he added.

An RCS spokesperson welcomed both reviews, which they argued could identify important learning points and reveal how cases are initiated and investigated.

Referring to the Dr Bawa-Garba case that has triggered the reviews, the spokesperson added: “The case of Dr Bawa-Garba has caused great concern among doctors. Our health and legal systems must protect patients from avoidable and unnecessary harm, while also providing clarity about the difference between gross negligence manslaughter and basic human error in medical practice. 

“Health professionals need to know where they stand in relation to criminal liability and professional misconduct.

“We also need an open, no-blame culture in the NHS – where clinicians feel able to talk about their practice so the whole medical team can learn from the experiences of others.”

The GMC aims to complete its review by the end of the year and will confirm more details about the work and professionals involved shortly.

Top image: fstop123

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

Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

16/01/2020Transforming services: We need a left shift not a left drift

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the need to move the treat... 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 >