HCSA calls for law change in wake of medical gross negligence manslaughter review

HCSA has today urged politicians to speed up law changes governing the investigation of hospital doctors by the General Medical Council.

Speaking following the release of the GMC-commissioned review into Medical Gross Negligence Manslaughter led by Leslie Hamilton, HCSA spokesman Dr John West said:

"This report reflects much of what HCSA and others have pressed for and its authors should be congratulated for a thorough interrogation of the issue. There does indeed need to be a fundamental cultural shift, although we maintain that professional faith in the regulator cannot return until the architects of the hugely damaging episode around Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba depart.

"One key message for politicians is to get on and action the near unanimous call for reform of the law which is again endorsed by Hamilton in this report, as it was last year in the Williams rapid review commissioned by the former secretary of state for health.

"At the moment, the proposal to strip the GMC of its right to appeal against the findings of its own tribunal service has been kicked into the long grass, as have legal changes aimed at protecting the reflections of doctors. The chorus of voices for change is now overwhelming. We need to see action to get the process moving.

"It is pleasing nevertheless to see in this review the recommendation for greater emphasis on investigation into the circumstances surrounding each case, meaning those such as Hadiza's may never have seen the light of day in the first place.

"Steps to reduce the length of investigations, which hang over doctors for many years, are also long overdue.

"Now comes the hard part of seeking to implement the kind of cultural and systemic changes recommended here."

Download the full Hamilton review (PDF)