Medical staff could quit if appeal fails

Hadiza Bawa-Garba was struck off by the GMC in January
Hadiza Bawa-Garba was struck off by the GMC in January

A Cumbernauld doctor has warned medical professionals will quit the NHS if Hadiza Bawa-Garba does not win her appeal against being struck off.

Dr Alicia Salceda, a GP at Kenilworth Medical Centre, claimed mistakes were made, but were caused by wider issues within the NHS, and not by the actions of individuals.

Bawa-Garba was working as a junior doctor at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011 when six-year-old Jack Adcock died of organ failure as a result of sepsis, hours after being admitted with sickness and vomiting.

She and nurse Isabel Amaro were found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence.

Bawa-Garba’s 2015 trial heard Jack, who had Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition, was the subject of a “catalogue” of errors including missing signs of his infection and mistakenly thinking he was under a do-not-resuscitate order.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service suspended Bawa-Garba for 12 months last June, but the General Medical Council (GMC) successfully appealed and she was struck off on in January.

This caused outrage among the medical profession who claimed ‘systemic failures’ were to blame for the child’s death not the actions of an individual.

Earlier this month Bawa-Garba was given the right to appeal her ban on practicing medicine, and Dr Salceda believes the result of the appeal could have a profound affect on the NHS as a whole.

She said: “Put simply the decision to charge Hadiza Bawa-Garba and Isabel Amaro with manslaughter in the first place and for the GMC to then go after Hadiza and destroy her career is a disgrace.

“Mistakes were definitely made, but these were caused by wider issues within the NHS as a whole not the actions of individuals.

“Hadiza was covering the work of three people and the computer system was down for four hours when this tragedy happened, and the death of a child is always a tragedy.

“However, instead of doing anything to address these matters and investing in people and equipment to ensure a situation like this doesn’t arise again in a future, dedicated medical professionals have been made scapegoats.

“I have been a GP in Scotland since 2000 and over that time I have seen the neglect the NHS has undergone, every day we are overloaded with extra work and eventually everyone reaches their breaking point.

“I am delighted Hadiza has been given the right to appeal, and the result will be very important as if she’s not successful then the GMC or the NHS will continue to blame individual staff members when mistakes happen.

“The public basically sees doctors and nurses as being the NHS, they don’t care about all the people behind the scenes making the financial and policy decisions that affects the frontline.

“However, if those people are allowed to continue to do nothing to address the wider problems then I can see more and more staff leaving the NHS as why would anyone want to risk being made a scapegoat when a tragedy happens as the result of a broken system?”