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GPhC clarifies revalidation plans after Bawa-Garba manslaughter ruling

The High Court ruled that Dr Bawa-Garba should be struck off the medical register

The GPhC has clarified its CPD "revalidation" proposals following "concern among pharmacy professionals" about the Dr Bawa-Garba judgment.

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.

Are you comfortable discussing errors with your peers?

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist


What worries me about this doctors case, is how the medical profession has come together to challenge it at every opportunity. They are even raising money via crowdfunding to fight any appeal. Contrast this with the cpitiful showing pharmacy made when Elizabeth Lee was in a similar position. Apart from a few people who fought the case, it seemed to me that the profession couldn’t care less and poor Ms Lee was left to her fate. And still the case is not resolved, we have had nearly 10 years of promises of changes to the legislation that would decriminalise dispensing errors. I bet the legislation governing doctors is changed forthwith.

Bob Dunkley  


Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

GMC fights to keep doctors on the register. GPhC fights to demoralise pharmacists and remove them from the register. Anyone who cannot see this must have been living under a rock for decades.

Ivor Hadenuff, Primary care pharmacist

Don't see the GMC fighting to keep Dr Bawa Garba on the register? And if you read comments from doctors about the case, many are threatening to resign from the register - and some have.

Not that I disagree with your comments on the GPhC !

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Spot on but the medical profession isn't disjointed and fractured. It has a single powerful union always prepared to act in its interests. Some pharmacists are registered to the RPS (not sure why), some with Boots' union (again, can't understand why), some the PDA (but the PDA lacks the presence and size of the BMA). Hospital, community, practice-based and locum pharmacists don't unite together enough and too easily judge each other critically. Incredibly damaging to the profession. IMHO every pharmacist should be a member of the PDA, joining should be seen as just as essential as GPhC registration - only then will the PDA and pharmacy have the clout to challenge such decisions.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Medicine is a real profession. Pharmacy, well.....

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

Mr Ruskin added that the most serious cases are taken to the Regulators fitness to practice committee. *

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

So that means practically all are taken to FTP given the track record of cases!!

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