Dr Bawa-Garba case: NMC has no plans to review fitness to practise of former nurse who was also struck off

Bank nurse was struck off after being convicted with Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of Jack Adcock

Bank nurse was struck off after being convicted with Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of Jack Adcock

The Court of Appeal. Picture: Alamy

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it has no plans to review the fitness to practise of a nurse struck off following the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock – this is despite Hadiza Bawa-Garba, the junior doctor struck off over the same case, being permitted to return to practise.

Bank nurse Isabel Amaro and Dr Bawa-Garba were each convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence and given two-year suspended prison sentences in 2015 following Jack Adcock's death from sepsis at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011.

The Medical Practitioners tribunal ruled Dr Bawa-Garba should remain on the medical register despite her conviction, but in January the doctors’ regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC), succeeded in having her struck off at the High Court.

But yesterday, three Court of Appeal judges overturned that decision and re-imposed the tribunal’s original sanction of a one-year suspension order, paving the way for Dr Bawa-Garba's return to practice.

Regulator's position

An NMC spokesperson stated Ms Amaro's case would not be reopened, adding: 'An independent panel took the decision to strike Ms Amaro from our register after hearing all of the evidence in the case and taking her conviction and suspended custodial sentence into account.' 

At her Fitness to Practise (FtP) hearing in August 2016 Ms Amaro admitted making mistakes on the day in question but claimed others had made more serious errors. The panel noted the nurse said she was being made a scapegoat. 

The RCN assisted Ms Amaro during her FtP hearing, but the college's head of legal services Rosalind Hooper today said: 'The RCN is always ready to provide legal support to its members facing allegations of this type, but we’re unable to discuss individual cases.'

Implication for regulators

NMC director of fitness to practise, Matthew McClelland, said the council was considering the Court of Appeal's decision in the Dr Bawa-Garba case to understand any implications for regulators.

He added: 'This case has again shone a light on the pressures and challenges facing health and care professionals every day. That’s one of the reasons we’ve outlined a new approach to fitness to practise that puts a greater emphasis on recognising the complexities nurses and midwives face in their day-to-day work and aims to encourage a culture of openness and learning rather than punishment.'

RCN director of nursing, policy and practice Dame Professor Donna Kinnair said cases like Dr Bawa-Garba's risk making clinicians afraid to work in ‘pressurised, understaffed environments for fear of blame'.

She added: ‘Healthcare should be viewed as a safety-critical industry, with a focus on learning and preventing future mistakes.

‘Continuing down the path we have witnessed in the Bawa-Garba case risks creating an environment in which individuals feel afraid to come forward.'

'A workforce plan would improve patient safety'

Professor Kinnair called for a workforce plan for England to improve saftey for patients. 

‘Safe and effective care can only be achieved with an adequate number of staff with the right skills, in the right place at the right time.

‘We urgently need a workforce plan for England that responds to patient need and prioritises recruitment and retention.’

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