The High Court ruled last week (January 25) in favour of a General Medical Council (GMC) appeal that Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba be removed from the medical register. Dr Bawa-Garba was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in 2015, in relation to the death of a six-year-old boy at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011.
The British Medical Association (BMA) expressed concern last week (January 31) that the judgment would encourage “a culture of fear and defensiveness in the NHS, in which system failings will not be adequately taken into account when mistakes are made”.
Pharmacist reflections will not be discussed
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), acknowledged that Dr Bawa-Garba's case had “caused concern among pharmacy professionals”.
“We understand that pharmacy professionals may be worried about reporting errors and taking part in processes to learn from errors,” Mr Rudkin said. “But it is vital for patient safety that errors are reported and discussed.”
The regulator’s “revalidation” proposals to change the CPD framework – which will begin to come into force this year – “seek to encourage and support pharmacy professionals to reflect on where their practice could be improved, during peer discussion”, he said.
“We want to be clear that we will not ask pharmacy professionals or peers to record what was discussed [during peer discussion],” Mr Rudkin stressed. “Instead they will be asked to record how the process benefitted their practice.”
He added that registrants' CPD records should not contain any details that could identify a patient.
“We will be producing further information to help pharmacy professionals understand what they are expected to do.”
Mr Rudkin also stressed that only the “most serious cases” are taken to the regulator’s fitness-to-practise process.
“A single dispensing error would only be taken forward if there were other aggravating factors,” he explained.
"Rapid review" commissioned by health secretary
Mr Rudkin added that the GPhC would “actively engage” with the rapid review commissioned by Jeremy Hunt yesterday (February 6).
The review – launched by the health secretary in the House of Commons – will look into whether gross negligence manslaughter laws are fit for purpose.
Read C+D's analysis of how the GPhC is addressing pharmacists' revalidation concerns here.