Colleagues Rally Behind UK Doctor Struck Off After Manslaughter Conviction

02 Feb 2018

Judge making a ruling concerning medical practise

In 2015, Dr Bawa-Garba, a paediatric registrar in the UK, was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence for her role in the treatment of a 6 year old boy who died from sepsis in 2011. She received a suspended 24 month imprisonment term. She failed to overturn the verdict on appeal.

An investigation by the NHS Trust found numerous errors by Dr Bawa-Garba, and nursing staff, but also multiple systemic failures. Her fitness to practice was reviewed before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal who took into account the multiple systems failures and her previous unblemished record as a doctor. In June 2017 the Medical Tribunal determined that she should be suspended for 12 months. 

However, the GMC appealed the decision of the Medical Tribunal, arguing that she should be struck off rather than suspended. On 25 January 2018, the UK High Court upheld the appeal and Dr Bawa-Garba has now been struck off.

The decision has rattled the UK medical profession (widespread reporting that the doctor’s self reflective feedback was used against her in the criminal trial has been denied by the Medical Protection Society  who defended her). There has been an outpouring of sympathy and support for Dr Bawa-Garba, as well as deep-seated concerns for the implications of this decision. An online appeal has raised over £200,000 to assist with exploring legal options for a challenge to this decision.

Some sources suggest that there is an increasing trend for doctors and other healthcare workers in the UK to be prosecuted  in the criminal courts.

The Australian experience of manslaughter charges arising out of medical practice is discussed here.


This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.




Doctors Let's Talk: Get Yourself A Fricking GP

Get yourself a fricking GP stat! is a conversation with Dr Lam, 2019 RACGP National General Practitioner of the Year, rural GP and GP Anesthetics trainee, that explores the importance of finding your own GP as a Junior Doctor.


25 Oct 2022

Systematic efforts to reduce harms due to prescribed opioids – webinar recording

Efforts are underway across the healthcare system to reduce harms caused by pharmaceutical opioids. This 43-min recording of a live webinar, delivered 11 March 2021, is an opportunity for prescribers to check, and potentially improve, their contribution to these endeavours. Hear from an expert panel about recent opioid reforms by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. 

Diplomacy in a hierarchy: tips for approaching a difficult conversation

Have you found yourself wondering how to broach a tough topic of conversation? It can be challenging to effectively navigate a disagreement with a co-worker, especially if they're 'above' you; however, it's vital for positive team dynamics and safe patient care. In this recording of a live webinar you'll have the opportunity to learn from colleagues' experiences around difficult discussions and hear from a diverse panel moderated by Dr Kiely Kim (medico-legal adviser and general practitioner). Recorded live on 2 September 2020.