Independent review into gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide

7 June 2019

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine welcomes the publication of the Independent review into gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide. This is a much needed review and assessment of the important area of manslaughter and homicide in healthcare.The recent legal situation involving Dr Bawa-Garba raised considerable questions about how the profession, including our regulators, manage the increasing complex issue of patient management and potential negligence – areas exacerbated by human factors and capacity issues, including high staff turnover. We are pleased to see that the General Medical Council has openly engaged with the significant concerns raised by the medical profession.

The report’s recommendations, including a review of how the current law is applied and support for doctors going through the coronial process, are welcome.We hope that the overall aim of this review, in ensuring that the NHS is a community that values learning from safety incidents rather than regressing into a blame culture, will see positive changes for doctors, the wider healthcare team, and, importantly, patients and their families.

 

As part of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, we contributed to the recently published guidance on acting as a professional or expert witness and we would encourage doctors to read this.

The Faculty will continue to prioritise areas that support safety and wellbeing. Upcoming developments in the year ahead will include: return to work guidance, succinct situational legal guides, education resources for intensivists including on supporting new consultants through a coroner inquest, and safety updates, as well as ongoing trainer (Regional Advisor / Faculty Tutor) network support for trainees.

Our thoughts remain with the family of Jack Adcock