03:36, August 13 336 0 theguardian.com

2018-08-13 03:36:13
Court of appeal to rule on struck-off doctor Hadiza Bawa-Garba

The court of appeal is to give a ruling on a challenge to the decision to strike off Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter after the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock.

Bawa-Garba is fighting a decision made in January by two high court judges to substitute erasure for the lesser sanction of one year’s suspension imposed by a medical practitioners tribunal (MPT) in June last year.

That decision followed an appeal by the General Medical Council (GMC), which argued suspension was not sufficient to protect the public or maintain public confidence in the medical profession.

Jack, from Glen Parva, Leicestershire, who had Down’s syndrome and a known heart condition, died at Leicester Royal infirmary in 2011 after he developed sepsis.

After a trial at Nottingham crown court in 2015, Bawa-Garba was given a two-year suspended prison sentence. The prosecution said Jack died after a series of failings by medical staff, including Bawa-Garba’s “failure to discharge her duty” as the responsible doctor.

Last month Bawa-Garba’s counsel, James Laddie QC, told the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, the master of the rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and Lady Justice Rafferty – who will give their ruling in London on Monday – that the tribunal’s decision was “humane and balanced”.

“The MPT concluded that suspension was an appropriate sanction which was necessary in the public interest,” he said. “That conclusion was within its margin of judgment and was rational. Indeed, the MPT’s conclusion was correct.

“The ordinary intelligent citizen recognises that NHS doctors work under intense pressure in environments where systems are less than perfect and where one-off mistakes may have tragic consequences.

“The same citizen recognises that to err is human and that public confidence places a greater value on remediation and redemption than on retribution.”

Arguing that the appeal should be dismissed, Ivan Hare QC, for the GMC, said the high court plainly had regard to the individual circumstances of the case and its reasoning was straightforward and correct.

“The MPT undermined the 2004 rules and the jury’s verdict by reaching its own conclusion on Dr Bawa-Garba’s individual culpability by reference to systemic failings and the failings of others,” he said.