GMC gross negligence manslaughter review published

Report recommends finding better ways to support doctors subject to an investigation and providing an induction to doctors following a period of absence

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The General Medical Council (GMC) has published an independent review into gross negligence manslaughter. 

The review follows the prosecution and conviction of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba for gross negligence manslaughter after the death of six-year-old patient Jack Adcock.

The report includes a total of 29 recommendations for a range of organisations that aim to foster a just and fair culture when things go wrong.

The review recommends close adherence to the professional and statutory duty of candour following an unexpected death.

Healthcare service providers should have clear policies and a named lead to ensure consistent implementation of policies ensuring that families and staff have support between an unexpected death and the start of a patient safety investigation.

The development of a suite of support for doctors new to UK practice is also recommended, alongside relevant healthcare sector organisations publishing measures and targets for diverse workforce representation in key roles.

It is recommended that the GMC should work with other organisations to explore how doctors under investigation may be better supported.

The independent review calls for all doctors returning to clinical practice after a significant period of absence to receive induction and support.

The report highlighted that while it is rare for doctors to face a criminal investigation, the effect of a single case has been “palpable and profound across the medical profession.”

“Many doctors feel unfairly vulnerable to criminal and regulatory proceedings should they make a mistake which leads to a patient being harmed,” the document noted.

“The depth of this feeling has resulted in a breakdown in the relationship between many doctors and their regulator, the GMC,” the report highlighted.

The review said that the regulator must take “urgent steps” to repair this relationship so that it is better able to work with and support doctors.

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