Speaking about the implications of the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba ruling from the High Court in London, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair, said:
"The case involving Dr Bawa-Garba is a tragic one and it is understandable that it has also triggered wider concerns about how we can continue to protect patient safety in the NHS and support doctors working in a health service that is under extreme pressure.
"As the GMC has recently stated, the medical profession is at a "crunch point" where a number of factors, from a lack of resources to staff shortages, are combining to impair the ability of clinicians to provide safe, high quality care. It is vital that these critical system pressures are addressed by politicians, as well as this being fundamental to the GMC's aim of ensuring patient safety.
"The case also raises questions and concerns about how doctors' reflections, which are an important tool for learning and professional development, are used. It is important that patient safety is not undermined through clinicians being deterred from engaging with reflective practices about patient care for fear of reprisal.
"It is vital that we promote a culture of support and openness in the NHS that addresses the root causes of the pressures undermining doctors' ability to do their best for patients. The BMA will be arranging meetings with the GMC and government in the coming weeks to discuss this case and the wider implications that flow from it. The goal must be to build an environment where doctors and all healthcare staff have the resources, facilities and support to provide patients with the quality of care they deserve, as well as empowering them to raise concerns if they believe they are working in unsafe conditions."