RCPCH response to Court of Appeal ruling on Hadiza Bawa-Garba case

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba's appeal against the decision to strike her name from the medical register.

Responding to the ruling, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health President Professor Russell Viner said:

“We welcome today's verdict. The tragic death of Jack Adcock and the subsequent criminal and regulatory proceedings against Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba have been difficult for all involved, but none more so than for Jack’s family. Our thoughts are with them today.

"The RCPCH respects the outcome of the legal process and now wishes to consider how we move on and learn from this case, which has shone a spotlight on the process of investigating serious errors and the doctors who make them. In particular, the role of the GMC [General Medical Council] in this matter has caused significant anxiety and anger amongst paediatricians and other medical professionals, as shown by a motion passed by our 2018 AGM recognising that this issue arose in the context of systemic failings within the NHS. The RCPCH has previously flagged the importance of fostering a culture of supporting doctors to learn from their mistakes, rather than one which seeks to blame. In particular, doctors should not be deterred from openly sharing, and thereby learning from, their reflections on errors.

"The RCPCH will consider the full ruling and its implications. In the meantime, we stand willing to continue working with the GMC to address the issues raised by this case. Our members are committed to delivering high-quality, safe care for children and avoiding errors; but when one-off errors do happen, doctors are owed a duty of care and support, not blame.”