Dr Manjula Case NHS-UK: Semantics-Regulator’s own Fitness to Practice Doubtful? #GMC-UK

Regulation of the medical profession has become a tool to oppress doctors.

  Dr Manjula Arora case (NHS-UK) unmasks the everyday struggle of the doctors in present era. Being undervalued and demonized, forced to work as sub-servant to administrators and regulators are considered new normal and has become an accepted form of harassment.  Fatigue and burnout are thought to be routine side effects of being a doctor or nurse.   The unhindered over-regulation has left no stone unturned in spreading hatred and creating an environment of mistrust against the medical profession.  Single stray or a trivial incident   is projected    as an example to portray poor image of medical profession as generalization and as a token of the ‘excellent’ work done by administrators and regulators.   Doctors have become soft targets because of their nature of work as they deal with life and death.   Any trivial issues such as semantics used by Dr Manjula Arora (in this case) were blown out of proportion  and   GMC finds this  as an  opportunity  to send a strict message to the whole profession.  Such incidence  show that regulators and administrators  can use the nature of doctors’ work to be  used against medical profession to make saviours as an  easy prey for  punishments   on the pretext of  dishonesty, negligence or semantics being used  as  legal weapons by law-enforcers, even in case of a perceived bias. In the process of such ‘tokenism’ administrators prove their relevance to the system.

       Regulation of the medical profession has become a tool to oppress doctors. Driving the narrative of doctors as “perfect” beings causes more harm to the doctor-patient relationship than not. Constantly seeking to attain perfection is the very approach that leads to burn out, and more mistakes- causing patient harm.

Dr Manjula Arora’s case

Dr Manjula Arora’s case

Dr Arora has been a doctor since 1988 and is of good character. She asked her employer for a laptop. For context, most employees would reasonably expect their employer to provide work-related IT equipment. She was told that none were available, but her interest would be noted for the next roll-out. Many people would interpret this positive response to mean that they would get a laptop in due course. Clearly if her employer did not intend for her to have a laptop, they could simply have said so. Dr Arora spoke to her IT department about getting a laptop and said she had been ‘promised’ one.

And that’s it. That is the entire extent of her ‘misconduct’.

One could regard her statement as a minor exaggeration, or loose terminology, or careless language or verbal shorthand over a trivial subject.  But no one  should consider it to amount to ‘dishonesty’ unless interpret it in biased manner.

The tribunal took a different view. They concluded that ordinary, decent people would consider her use of the single word ‘promised’ as dishonest.  The tribunal further decided that this so-called dishonesty amounted to misconduct.

They also considered that the misconduct was serious.

They decided her fitness to practice was impaired, and that it was necessary to suspend her to send a message to the profession.The regulator has a difficult task. Good regulation protects patients. Poor regulation harms patients, because doctors will run away from a toxic regulatory environment.

Manjula Arora case: the GMC stumbles again? -BMJ

      The case of Manjula Arora, a GP in Manchester, who has been suspended for a month for supposed “dishonesty” about a laptop, was picked up by a few colleagues, and social media did its work of ensuring the pick-up rate increased exponentially.  One always worries about the latest “MedTwitter” controversy. But this one has come on back of seething annoyance among many doctors about our regulator—the General Medical Council (GMC)—and its perceived bias, with cases such as those of Hadiza Bawa-Garba and Omer Karim still fresh in our memories.

Couple this with the recent Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard (MWRES) data confirming a clear association of increased referrals and convictions on the basis of racial background—or indeed country of origin as regards training—and this case lit the touch paper.

If one considers the publicly available details of the whole trial, you have to scratch your head and wonder how it got to this stage?   Would this happen if the name of the individual was, for example, Michael Andrews?  

The relevance of this case stood on two things—any harm to the patient population, which, to me, should be the primary aim of the GMC, and then dishonesty and disrepute brought upon the medical community.

This ruling makes it clear that there is no risk of harm to the public: “The Tribunal considered that no issues in relation to patient safety had been identified in this case. Dr Arora is a competent clinician, and there is no necessity to protect the public.” That should have ended the issue. But the complications started when interpretation about honesty came into the picture.

“The Tribunal attached significant weight to the fact that Dr Arora’s misconduct was a single incident in relation to the use of a single word, with no evidence of any other similar episodes of dishonesty before or after the event.” If you go into the details of the case, it becomes even more murky, as it’s the interpretation of a word—subjective at best— against the background of someone for whom English is not their first language. But it was deemed enough to warrant a month’s suspension according to the tribunal: “this period would send an appropriate message to the medical profession and to the wider public that Dr Arora’s misconduct, albeit relating to a single fleeting moment of dishonesty and not a planned deception.”

This raises a multitude of questions. Firstly, there is the principle that one fleeting moment of dishonesty could result in suspension. If that’s the standard, then the profession is indeed in trouble, with the GMC now making subjective judgements and being an arbiter of what is deemed to be honest or not. Where does the line get drawn? Discussions about patients or conversations about whether Santa exists or not?

Secondly, and more importantly, there is the suspicion of bias in how that law is being applied. Daniel Sokol has written a recent column which discusses the notion of doctors as the “saintly being”; the epitome of perfection at all times. Yet, within all of us exist the same prejudices and flaws as for the rest of the population. Sokol suggests that doctors have to be “scrupulously honest—in and out of work—unless the situation obviously allows for ethical dishonesty.” Yet he makes no mention of the fact that the GMC seems to apply that principle unevenly across the board. I accept that it can be difficult to see the “problem” others are complaining about, but I can assure you there are very few international medical graduates who have read about Arora’s case and not thought “I know why this has happened.”

There is professionalism, but there is humanity too, and I would propose that driving the narrative of doctors as “perfect” beings causes more harm to the doctor-patient relationship than not. What is honesty? Saying to patients that they need to wait for another 16 hours to get a bed, or holding the hand of the elderly frail lady, comforting her and saying “I am sure something will come up shortly”? It brings back the concept that being a doctor is a vocation. Constantly seeking to attain perfection is the very approach that leads to burn out, and more mistakes—causing patient harm.

Finally, if the role of the GMC is to protect the public from “single moments of untruth,” as this destroys the view among the public that doctors are saints (although I am pretty sure the public don’t see doctors like that in modern life), then there needs to be a discussion of that concept, of the overreach into personal lives, and of where the line is drawn as regards the GMC’s intrusion and inordinate application of that principle. I would suggest the role of the regulator should be for the rare circumstances when there is an interest in behaviour not being repeated or where it cannot be dealt with effectively by an employer.

I work with the GMC closely these days, and I find it immensely frustrating to see such cases as they undermine some significant hard work that is being done by individuals who are determined to change the narrative that the GMC is biased. I would encourage all concerned to look into this case, review it, learn from it, and offer support to Arora. There is a lot of work in hand to repair the damage from the Bawa Garba case, and this case could reinforce those sentiments, which we must avoid.

The intention may once have been for doctors to be Superman, but modern times and the foibles of individuals only permit a Batman. It’s worth remembering neither of them work to harm the public.

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Advantages & disadvantages: pros & cons of medical consumer Protection Act

As in last few decades, patients are defined as  consumers and Medical Consumer Protection Act takes roots, the whole system of medicine and healthcare has changed. All the new changes in regulation, insurance and legal system have resulted in facilitating and exercising an easy control of medical industry over health care, each revision has affected doctors adversely. They have been reduced to just only one small component of the industry, who deliver care and remain at receiving end for poor outcomes. Other important stake holders are patients. How this change has been beneficial for patients?

Suppressed professionals can be used to work more, get less paid and can be dragged to courts easily. It should be a win-win situation for all, except doctors. Therefore everyone makes merry, while doctors sulk, except those who can mingle with the present scenario,  act smart and are able to entrench themselves in  changed business and legal milieu.

Disadvantages of medical consumer Protection Act (Negatives, cons)


1 .Promotes Defensive medicine: Every patient with any illness has a potential for  complications. Progression of any disease state can cause death.  If doctors start looking at every patient as a potential litigant, especially while dealing with very sick ones, practice of defensive medicine is a natural consequence. This may manifest as excessive investigations, more use of drugs, antibiotics and even reluctance or refusal to treat very sick patients. Worst scenario of excessive fear will be refusal of very sick patients in emergency situations or non-availability of doctors.

  1. Erosion of doctor-patient relationship: Stray and occasional Incidents about negligence, the cases in courts or their outcome attract wide publicity in media. People are unable to understand the correct application of such stray incidents to themselves. But they always try to imagine themselves being in the chaos or scenario projected. Because of prejudiced notions, a sense of mistrust gradually creeps in, which then extends into and involves their own  imagination and  circumstances. This sense of mistrust multiplies manifold whenever there is some adverse or even small unpleasant event. Ultimately doctor and patients move forward together with a strained relationship and the treatment goes on with a surmounting sense of mistrust.
  1. Increased cost of care: With the increasing need for defensive medicine, there is a need to document everything and to offer everything possible in the world, leading to increased  medical costs.  Insurance companies, medical industry and lawyers have positioned themselves in between doctor and patients. They charge everyone on both sides, heavily for allaying the fears, both  patients (medical insurance, lawyer fee) and doctors(indemnity insurance, lawyer’s fee) alike. The vicious cycle of rising costs, need for insurance, medicolegal suits, and high lawyer fee (for patients and doctors) goes on unabated. All these contribute significantly to overall increased cost of health care.

25 factors for rising cost and expensive medical care.

  1. Enhanced insecurity in medical profession: Needless to say, consumer protection act has increased the anxiety and insecurity of  the medical profession. One keeps wondering which patient will prove to be his bane and finish his total career, will result in professional hanging or a media trial. There is a real probability of being entangled in these problems in present era in day to day practice.

 Disadvantages  of being a doctor, health worker

  1. Unnecessary litigation: Legal cases can be put on doctors for various trivial reasons, for example the sense of revenge or to extract money or simply for avoiding  to pay for services.  In an era where family members, brothers and sisters fight for money, it will be naïve to think that idea of making money from doctor does not exist. These ideas are further stoked by the incidents of previous high compensations granted  by courts .

Black coat versus white coat

  1.  Increased paper workexcessive documentation and time consumption: crucial and large chunk of time of doctors and nurses, goes in completing documentation. Needless to say, this time previously was dedicated solely to patient service. Management is now-a day more worried about completing paper work as well. Initially it was a symbolic documentation, but now there is requirement of mammoth paper work. It leads to consumption of time that was meant for real discussions for the benefit of patients.
  1. Doctors used as scape-goats for revenge: Any unsatisfied patient can vent his anger by putting complaint or case against the doctor.  This is done to some extent for revenge or just finding a human factor which can be punished. Not uncommonly doctors are used as scape- goats to have a concession on the patient treatment by administrators. Everything can be easily put on doctors as they are universal final link to a patient’s treatment and adverse effects.
  1. Distraction of doctors from the primary point of intention:  Nothing else ever has distracted doctors more than medico-legal cases and punishments. In certain circumstances, saving themselves becomes more important than saving a patient. Uncertainty of prognosis, grave emergencies, split second lifesaving and risky decisions that may later be proved wrong by retrospective analysis with wisdom of hindsight.   Complex  medico-legal situations are endless distractions that have creeped in and are enough to distract doctors from primary point of intentions ‘the treatment.
  1. Early retirement or burn out: Becoming a doctor and practising has become a tough job. After people have reached a point of financial security or when near point of burn out, doctors tend to leave practice. No wise man will like to face medicolegal complexities in older age. Taken to court for a genuine decision is enough to spoil and tarnish  health, wealth and fame that was earned by  slogging  the doctor’s whole life.
  1. Reluctance to do emergency, risky work: If the decision to decide or act or help someone in an emergency situation, puts one’s own life and career to risk, why should anyone put himself in that difficult  position?  Therefore increasingly, financially secure doctors are staying away from the riskier jobs.

11 .Only Doctors are sufferers of the act: Patient can have poor outcome because of any reason. It can be severe disease, poor prognosis, rare or genuine complications or even unintentional mistake or human errors, system errors or deficiency. But retrospectively doctors can easily be blamed because of wisdom of hindsight.  All patients, who are unsatisfied or with unrealistic or unexpected outcome can go to courts. Whatever court decides, harassment of doctors is full and permanent. There is no compensation possible for the sufferings and agony spanned over years, even if court decides in favour of doctor.

  1. Spoils teamwork among doctors; Whenever there is adverse outcome in any patient, all the doctors involved may start looking  for, whom to blame  among themselves. All of them will try to pinpoint each other’s mistake.  Such situation produces a bitter and worst kind of disagreements among various teams or specialties. Mutual understandings take a back seat and the teamwork is spoiled permanently. Administrators in a bid to be safe, encourage putting doctor’s concerns against each other, creating a strange sense of enmity. Ultimately  a mutual understanding and team work takes a hit.
  1. Doctors converted to cheap labour: Hugely benefitted are medical industry, law industry and administrators; The ease with which doctors can be harassed  has lead to rampant misuse of consumer protection ac and t has instilled a sense of deep fear in mind of medical professionals. The act has been used as a whip against the  doctors by all these three stakeholders. Fear of medicolegal cases has reduced doctors to cheap labour. Industry has used the protective systems to gain the maximum out of doctors hard work.  Benefits to law industry and lawyers  are obvious and don’t need to be elaborated. Besides this, even insurance industry has collected money both from doctors and patients by creating the fear.
  1. Confusion while treating; Right decisions ?  A certain element of doubt always remains in minds of doctor whether he will get justice in the long run, or will end up being victim of sympathy towards patient or clever lawyering.  What was medically right and judicious decision at that real time situation may be looked as wrong later, especially when retrospective analysis  is done over years with fault finding approach. So taking medical decisions is becoming more difficult amid future uncertainty of disease.
  1.  Delayed treatment in emergency situations: Due to prejudiced minds, it is not uncommon for patient’s relatives to keep seeking second opinion, thereby delaying consent for procedures, surgeries and treatment. Though doctors know this problem, but they obviously cannot proceed without necessary documentation. With increasing mistrust, even emergency treatments are delayed. Delay in surgeries or therapies are a common outcome.
  1.  Instigation by law industryWindfall profits for lawyers and law industry at the cost of doctors is a disadvantage for medical profession: One can see zero fee and fixed commission advertisements on television by lawyers in health systems even in developed countries. They lure and instigate patients to file law suits and promise them hefty reimbursements. There is no dearth of such relatives, lawyers who are ready to try their luck sometimes in vengeance and sometimes for lure of money received in compensations.  This encouragement and instigation of lawsuit against doctors is a major setback for medical profession.
  1. Hostile environment for young impressionable doctors: The young and bright doctors complete their long arduous training and then suddenly find themselves starting the work in a hostile environment. They find it strange to find themselves at the receiving end of public wrath, law and media for reasons, they can’t fathom. They work with continuous negative publicity, poor infrastructure and preoccupied negative beliefs of society.
  1. Doctors have become ‘Sitting ducks’  for  continuous blackmail: Even with routine complications amongst very sick patients, a threat looms over doctor’s head. People do not accept even the genuine complication, what to talk of unintentional mistakes. Mistakes  are always easy to be  pinpointed with retrospective analysis and with lawyers pondering over it for years. In such situations, doctors are sitting ducks for  any kind of blackmail.
  2. Demoralization of medical professionals – as selectively applied: strangely it applies  only to doctors. All of other professions are   out of it. Selective application is what demoralizes doctors.  Considering the uncertainty and kind of work of medical profession, actually it should be other way around.

The consequences are like victimization.

Advantages of Medical Consumer Protection Act: (Positives, Pros)

     1.  Redressal of grievances:  patient will get satisfaction, if there is a genuine negligence case.

  1.  Better quality of care;  medical systems will improve as they will need to lessens the errors and  court cases. Better systems from abroad are also copied to improve the efficiency.
  1. Better introspection by medical profession: although doctors from the beginning are sensitive about their work and always look at how better results can be achieved. But act will make this process more formal and official.
  1. Training of medical professionals: it will be difficult to put errors under carpet.  Doctor will like to get trained better as no one want to be in soup.
  1. Future  learning from court cases:  each and every court decisions  is viewed carefully by medical fraternity. Improvement in protocol and policy making is a natural consequence.
  1.  Eye openers for medical profession: court cases and decisions have acted as eye opener for medical profession. It gives an idea, how law looks at medical treatment. It has made clear that medical science and medical law are a bit different. In real time, things are easier to be said than done.
  1. Better documentation and communication: for doctors to save themselves, documentation is the key. Previously doctors were doing everything, but not documenting much. But now there is lot of stress on documentation.

Stress itself is not a bad thing. It can often help us perform at our best, expand beyond our limits and  achieve  better results.   The real problem lies in the fact that in this age,  anxiety prevailing more for care givers, a sense of injustice prevails . stress generated can alter the ways, the patients get treated.  If the core of the health care  (medical hands) are harmed, no one can benefit in the long run.

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Real failures of Dr Hazida Bawa case: Five issues to ponder-why doctors suffer?

 The case of  Dr Hazida Bawa  is of importance worldwide in many ways, an opportunity  for learning some hard and truthful lessons, as it touched upon various crucial aspects involved in medical treatment, especially in difficult situations. Every one has sympathy for the deceased, but  to blame a human factor, doctors should not be presented as sacrificial lambs.

       The current verdict is nearer to reality and away from a feeling of revenge and harsher penalties. It  gives a hope  that now there will be  acknowledgement of the difficult circumstances and limitations of medical system in health care environment.  To make doctor scapegoat for the  system limitations, poor prognosis or severe disease may be satisfying for some but not sensible. In this case doctors lodged their protest, collected money for lawsuit and the decision was re-looked legally. But every  doctor may not be  lucky enough and may have to suffer  in silence.

 Real failure in this case will be ignoring the factors that actually cause huge suffering for doctors-

  1. Presumptive failure by retrospective analysis: Retrospective analysis of any treatment will always show few things at hindsight that could have been done and would have proved life saving.  One may presume that omission or commission  of certain actions during treatment would have saved the  life,   but one can’t be sure whether these additional presumed treatment would really have benefited the patient.  Therefore a  perception-reality gap is created and with  negative perception towards doctors, it is interpreted as a  failure of doctor merely on presumptive basis and hence declared as negligence.  The doctors who deal with life and death know that it is not correct interpretation, and no one can ever be sure of what the real outcome would be. They just do what they think will be most effective for the patient, and it may not eventually turn out to be the best ever.
  2. Variable interpretation: Same evidence, incidence and circumstances are interpreted and  judged differently by people and  even courts. Some will say it is negligence and other will say it is not. Some will bay for doctor’s blood and other will not. This variation in perception is not only in minds of lay men but also in the learned courts, who  decide  differently.  At the time of death of patient, a constant and  universal last link is only the doctor, that is visible. He is an unfortunate victim, a human factor   and blamed for  the harm done because of variable thought process.


  1. Medical knowledge vs wisdom: People who do not treat patients, may be very wise and may acquire medical knowledge by various sources. But medical wisdom comes  only after years of medical practice,  by observing varied situations and spectrum of diseases. An understanding of what can happen in given circumstances comes only by treating such   emergencies.         For non doctors, it is very difficult to  comprehend the medical complexities and real time scenarios. Even doctors, who do not treat regularly emergency patients, can attribute the harm as doctor’s  mistake.


  1. Feeling of revenge:  in case of an  adverse event, negative thoughts prevail all over. In present scenario with legal powers with the sufferer and common sentiments against doctors, it is easier to identify and blame some human factors.   Adverse outcome is frequently covered by media to create a sensation among masses.  Real circumstances can only be felt by doctors  but that remains unheard. Harm to patient, media cry and negative sentiments against the service providers creates a sense of revenge in mind of people.


  1. Doctor’s negligence vs system inadequacy; This visibility of doctor at the time of  declaration of death  or while treating the patient on his bedside, makes him vulnerable to all kinds of accusations. By application of an average wisdom, all deaths can be easily attributed or linked to fault of the doctor. Subtle presentations of severe disease, rapid deterioration, multi organ complexities, under staffing and sub optimal systems, inadequate equipment and  other innumerable shortcomings of the whole system may not be visible or not given consideration in the  haze, as compared to  publicity and attention  given to only doctor’s faults.


14 of world’s 15 most polluted cities in India : is crime and pollution related?

The WHO report said 14 of world’s 15 most polluted cities were in India which includes Delhi, Kanpur and Varanasi.  This will need  soul searching  and introspection by every one including policy makers.

Air pollution is related to lung diseases like asthma, emphysema or COPD.  It can have effects on pregnant women, Heart patients and outdoor workers etc.  but another aspect of relationship  of pollution with crime is also coming up, which concerns the psychological aspect.

There is a study  in London which relates pollution and crime rate. Although it appears strange but it gives some thing to ponder. If proved correct it may be dangerous environment to the people living in polluted cities.

A new report by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests that crime in the capital is being driven by air pollution.

Their results show more polluted areas will see spikes in crime, particularly for less serious offences.

While the study relies on observational data and therefore cannot make definitive conclusions, it adds to a small but growing body of evidence linking pollution and crime.

Previous experiments have shown that increased levels of particulate matter in the air lead to increased blood levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.

The authors therefore suggest that behavioural changes resulting from increased stress hormone levels may in turn lead to an increased likelihood a person will commit a crime.

This means is that pollution can have a negative effect on people’s ways of thinking, including decision making and the way they think about future punishment.

Higher levels of pollution mean higher levels of cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol affect the way that punishment is being perceived by criminals.

Though the paper has yet to be peer reviewed and published in an academic journal, it has undergone internal peer review at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

The research is not the first to explore links between air pollution levels and crime.

Dr Hazida Bawa-Garba case: sacrificial lambs “The doctors” and not health administrators? Dangerous precedence for doctors worldwide

Dr Hazida Bawa case is of importance worldwide in many ways, an (lost)opportunity  for learning some hard and truthful lessons, as it touched upon various crucial aspects involved in treatment, especially in difficult situations , for doctors.  At the time of death of patient, a constant and  universal last link is only the doctor, that is visible. This visibility of doctor at the time of  declaration of death  or while treating the patient on his bedside, makes him vulnerable to all kinds of accusations. By application of an average wisdom,  all deaths can be easily attributed or linked to fault of the doctor. Subtle presentations of severe disease, rapid deterioration, multi organ complexities, under staffing and sub optimal systems, equipment and  other innumerable shortcomings of the whole system may not be visible or not given consideration in the  haze, as compared to  publicity and attention  given to only doctor’s faults. This is specially so when the wisdom is applied retrospectively, with knowledge  of hindsight,  and by the people who have never treated emergencies or have never been in such difficult situations  themselves.

Analogy to  Dr Hazida Bawa case

        Imagine a situation where during a bad sea storm, large number of people are trapped and are in mortal danger. The coast guard on the duty tries his best in the emergency situation with his limited resources and saves a large number of people. There were only a few coast guards present, equipment were inadequate and sub optimal.  However the guards manage to salvage the situation by doing the best possible in the circumstances. There were instances, where they decide, act, communicate and document events simultaneously, in an instant.  Those who could not be saved were exposed to risk of death as resources allocated by authorities were limited.  The near and dear ones of those who died were unhappy and revengeful with the services. Inquiry is done to find out the cause of failure in preventing those deaths. Rather than appreciating the facts that greater proportion of victims were saved in those difficult circumstances, the guards are blamed for those who could not be saved. Guards who are already apologetic for not been able to save the few, are blamed for doing their duty shabbily after careful fault finding analysis of the event. The administrators  who are responsible for allocating the inadequate number of guards and equipment, who actually failed in their duty, also participate in pointing fingers at the guards.

  The saddest part was that courts also were  unwilling to apply wisdom to look beyond the guard faults and  reach beyond the fog in present hazy circumstances. Systems and administrative lapses and inadequacy of number of coast guards was not raised as a concern. The responsibility of the deaths is thus fixed on the persons who struggled to save the lives of many. Every one has great sympathies for the deceased, but there is another angle for doctors in such  difficult situations.

This is an analogy to Dr Hazida Bawa case, but similar unfortunate incidents are happening to medical professionals worldwide, more so in developing countries. The new regulated system of medicine has an aberrant evolution and   chooses to hang their own wounded soldier for not putting up the best fight, rather than accepting the limitations of medical science or errors in the supporting systems.  Was  she an easy scapegoat for some obviously non- admissible reasons prevalent?

Why is it always necessary to punish a doctor, and  conveniently overlook errors of the sub optimal  system in cases of unfavorable prognosis, especially in sick patients. Why a sub optimal system or unsafe working conditions  like  all other registrars were on leave simultaneously, or only one registrar in place of three and that too a trainee. There was no consultant or registrar covering her?   Why is a single doctor stuck in a difficult situation  not  treated as  just another human being in an emergency situation, especially in cases of very sick patients? Why administrators or managers are not punishable for putting doctor and patients at risk and unsafe condition ?

If a doctor is supposed to raise concern (may be at cost of his career), then what is the role of managers, management and administration?  Are they inefficient or incompetent  to anticipate the situation? A new doctor coming on duty can not anticipate the deficiency of system. He will not have time to assess the managerial deficiencies. Therefore raising a concern by doctor on duty is something, which is expected but at the same time not feasible always, in true sense.  This expectation to raise  a concern  may be  used to later implicate the doctor as to why he or she did not raise a concern.  At the same time it takes responsibility off, from the  administrators whose  duty was to raise concerns.

NHS is looked upon in the world as one of the better organized health care organization in terms of uniformity. If such an organization has to sacrifice its working hands in the form of scapegoats to prove its quality, deliberately overlooking its system errors, then it is a sad state for doctors all over the world. This would set a precedence for governments and health administrators, world over to be  fearless in  putting errors of sub optimal system under the carpet by punishing the doctors instead. Since there will always be a doctor in the end who will declare the death, is the last and common link in all deaths. Other circumstantial issues would be overlooked  because of sheer unwillingness to do so.

Irony of the situation is that generally people who have been invested with the power to decide on these issues of medical negligence  may  have  never faced  such situations themselves.  They may be the people in administrative positions who have never treated a single patient, leave aside emergencies.  They do not even  know, what it takes to deal with emergencies of life and death, that too multiple ones, with limited resources. The court takes years to decide on these issues discussed retrospectively with wisdom of hindsight, on issues which the doctor had to decide in a jiffy.  A person who perhaps can only imagine such a situation, or  never handle it himself, even in his wildest dreams is the one who decides what went wrong merely based on how the situation is placed and presented before him.

         If there is unsaid immunity to governments and administrators for providing a suboptimal systems, then the doctor should be the first person to get this immunity. But unfortunately nobody seems  to be willing to find out who is responsible for putting  the doctor  in such  a difficult situation, making everything error prone.

       If in such system a doctor is punished, then the administrator, manager or trust should be an automatic accomplice to the doctor’s punishment. Firstly   for providing an unsafe and  suboptimal system, and secondly for not raising a concern as management . Thirdly for putting it’s doctor in difficult circumstances. If it was an understaffed system, then disaster was bound to  happen sooner or later. This is a perfect example how management lapses contribute to death but doctors are the only ones who are entirely blamed and punished in isolation.

  Another sad part is the unwillingness of judiciary system to look at the larger picture and the fault in the system, which has led to mass demoralization of the doctors. The doctors are denied the true justice in many such cases.  They are being used as sacrificial lambs. Health administrators are obviously at an advantage enjoying the invisible immunity and perks, at the cost of medical professionals.  By crucification of the doctors, vengeance of the society is fulfilled and everyone feels  satisfied  with false sense of justice.  But does this give any advantage to the society? Definitely not. In fact  the society is thus raising a  demoralized force to be their care providers, who under duress, will definitely not perform to their very best.  If this is quality of justice for saviours, this demoralized force may also not be available in future.

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