The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has won the right to be joined as an interested party in the Bawa-Garba Appeal, to be heard on 25 July 2018. This comes two months after the BMA also won the right to join the Appeal in May.
BAPIO, will be represented by Karon Monaghan QC, who will raise concerns about discrimination against black and minority ethnic (BME) doctors referred to the GMC. BAPIO president, Dr Ramesh Mehta, has said: “If Dr Bawa-Garba was white she wouldn’t have landed in such deep trouble…Our submission will concentrate on worse outcomes for BME doctors referred to the GMC. Discrimination is an NHS-wide problem [and] institutional racism affects quality of care for patients”.
The BMA are expected to make submissions to highlight the “important legal issues in this tragic and important case, following the far-reaching impact it has had on doctors”.
Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was struck off in January this year after the 12 month’s suspension imposed by a medical practitioner’s tribunal was overturned following a challenge by the GMC in the High Court. Shortly thereafter, BAPIO accused the GMC of racial discrimination, asserting that BME doctors are three to five times more likely to receive warnings and restrictions compared to white doctors.
In response, the GMC described the accusations as "troubling and without merit". The GMC is currently investigating why a disproportionate number of BME doctors are subject to fitness-to-practise referrals, with a report expected early in 2019.
A crowdfunding page set up in January to help raise money for an appeal in support of Dr Bawa-Garba raised more than £350,000.
The medical and legal community await the decision of the Appeal with great interest.
If Dr Bawa-Garba was white she wouldn’t have landed in such deep trouble