More than 7,500 doctors warn they will be too scared to admit mistakes after pediatrician is struck off

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More than 7,500 doctors warn they will be too scared to admit mistakes after pediatrician is struck off

Post by Didge on Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:52 am

Doctors have warned they may be less likely to admit mistakes after a pediatrician was controversially struck off for causing the death of a young boy.

More than 7,500 medics have signed a letter raising deep seated concerns about last week’s decision to strike Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba from the medical register.

It comes after Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, raised similar concerns, warning that the decision could have implications for patient safety if doctors felt they could not admit openly to their mistakes.

Dr Bawa-Garba was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter over the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock, who had Down's Syndrome, in 2015, and received a suspended two-year prison sentence.

The letter, which is being circulated amongst medics and has been signed by many lead clinicians and high profile consultants, warns that the decision made by the General Medical Council punishes Dr Bawa-Garba and other doctors for admitting their mistakes, which could only lead to further tragedies.

It says the doctor’s mistake had to be considered in the context of the extraordinary pressures she was under and warned that it would frighten doctors away from honest self appraisal, with potentially terrible consequences in the future.

"Patient safety is paramount and a culture of openness is critical,” it says.

“Doctors frequently take on the work of two or more in order to keep our hospitals open. We have seen doctors punished for whistleblowing about unsafe staffing levels.

“We now see them being held criminally responsible for mistakes made whilst working under these pressures, which, with chronic staff shortages, prolonged underfunding and low morale now occur with worrying frequency.”

Consultant neurologist Dr Jenny Vaughan told Channel 4 News that a number of doctors convicted of the same offence had gone back to work and “not been erased”.

“Doctors are not above the law but one of the jobs of the regulator is to look at the effect of their decisions in the context of patient safety,” she said.

But Charlie Massey, chief executive of the General Medical Council defended its decision to strike off Dr Bawa-Garba.

“I recognise a lot of the concern that’s being expressed out there but it’s really important that we differentiate between this case, where a doctor was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, and everyday mistakes.

“This is different from the mistakes that doctors may make in their everyday work. The judge ruled that even taking account of the system’s failings, the standard of care provided by the doctor was truly exceptionally bad.”

Dr Bawa-Garba failed to spot that Jack, from Glen Parva, Leics, was suffering from septic shock, then "inexplicably" mistook him for a different child under a "do not resuscitate" order and ordered colleagues to stop life-saving attempts when his heart stopped. He died at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/28/7000-doctors-warn-medics-will-scared-admit-mistakes-pediatrician/

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Didge

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