Hundreds of doctors demand investigation into GMC's 'aggressive pursuit' of Bawa-Garba

Hundreds of doctors have called for a public investigation into the GMC's 'aggressive pursuit' of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, warning the case has led to an unprecedented loss of confidence in the regulator.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey

More than 1,200 doctors - including Scottish National Party MP and surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford - have called for the GMC to refer itself to the House of Commons health and social care select committee for investigation.

A letter signed by the doctors - co-ordinated by the Doctors Association UK - accuses the GMC of a 'serious error of judgment' in deciding to press for Dr Bawa-Garba to be struck off despite a medical tribunal decision that she should be suspended for 12 months.

The call for an investigation by the influential House of Commons committee comes just two months after doctors at the BMA annual conference backed calls for a public inquiry into the GMC's handling of the case.

Dr Bawa-Garba was removed from the medical register in January after the GMC won a High Court case against the medical tribunal ruling. However, this decision was overturned earlier this month by the Court of Appeal.

GMC appeal

When the GMC won its initial case to strike off Dr Bawa-Garba, then-health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was 'deeply concerned' about the decision and 'totally perplexed that GMC acted as they did'.

The case has triggered boycotts of written reflective notes - a key part of appraisal and revalidation - by doctors amid widespread fears that this information will be used against them. GPonline reported earlier this year that 70% of GPs did not believe written reflection was safe following the Bawa-Garba case.

The letter sent to GMC chief executive Charlie Massey on Wednesday says: 'We believe that it is important that both doctors, and the public at large, are given a comprehensive understanding of how this case developed and progressed in the way that it did, and that the persons responsible for the relevant decisions regarding this matter are held to account. We believe that this will be a fundamental step in restoring the confidence and trust in the GMC as a regulatory body.'

It adds that in the wake of Bawa-Garba case, there is 'a unique and rare opportunity for the GMC to reflect upon its actions, hold itself up to public scrutiny and to learn valuable lessons'.

A GMC spokesperson said: 'We have received a letter sent by the Doctor’s Association UK and we will be responding to it in due course.'

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