The General Medical Council (GMC) has been hit with a vote of no confidence from Local Medical Committee (LMC) representatives, following its decision to strike off a doctor who faced criminal proceedings following the death of a six-year-old boy.
The vote took place at the annual LMC conference, held in Liverpool, where the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was the foremost concern among attendees.
The Dr Bawa-Garba case has highlighted the pressures healthcare professionals are currently struggling under, with staff shortages, underfunding, and plummeting morale all impacting on the continued delivery of care. Doctors have rallied to her support, protesting about the way in which the GMC has made her a scapegoat for failings beyond her control.
Addressing the gathered representatives, Dr Zoe Norris, the sessional subcommittee chair of the General Practitioners Committee (GPC), asked: “Can you trust the current process?
“The statements made so far do not constitute adequate safeguards in my mind and do not protect GPs. There hasn’t been much balance in the policies and rhetoric to date to lead GPs to believe that we are valued by Mr Hunt and his Government.
“We are told to speak up, that we will be protected if we speak up. As a salaried GP or locum I can speak up if something concerns me. If you are a partner – what can you do? Conference, if you fail to raise a concern about an aspect of patient care you cannot deliver safely because your hands are tied, who do you think will be up before the GMC?”
The chair of the GPC, Dr Richard Vautrey, said that the no confidence vote in the actions of the GMC demonstrated how badly the world of medicine had been affected by the Bawa-Garba case.
Further votes backed a call for the GPC to advise GPs to stop “written reflection in both appraisal and revalidation until adequate safeguards are in place,” and for a review by the House of Commons Health Select Committee into how Dr Bawa-Garba’s case was handled.
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