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Marx Review invites the submission of written evidence

The working group investigation into gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) and culpable homicide has called for health professionals and the general public to submit written evidence to be utilised as part of their ongoing investigation.

The review, as commissioned by the GMC and established subsequent to the Dr Bawa-Gaba case, is set to explore how cases of GNM and culpable homicide (in Scotland) are initiated and investigated in the UK.

The GMC chief executive, Charlie Massey, stated last month that doctors were “facing a postcode lottery over GNM prosecutions” with a wide discrepancy as to how the law of GNM is applied across the UK.

On the 4th June, Chair of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, Dame Clare, who is leading the independent review as commissioned by the GMC, has made an appeal to anyone who “may have insight which will help us shape our review and findings” to make a written submission.

The working group welcome views from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including: the medical profession, patients and the public, the legal profession, police and prosecuting authorities, medical defence and other representative organisations, employers, educators, academics in the field, other regulators and any other individual or organisation with experience of, or expertise in gross negligence manslaughter or culpable homicide.

Those wishing to send written submissions can do so online via a written questionnaire until Friday 27 July 2018. The questionnaire can be found by clicking here.

The written questionnaire poses questions which cover all aspects of the review and therefore does contain an extensive set of questions. Although it is not mandatory for every question to be answered, Dame Clare has stated that “the more thoughts and ideas we receive the richer the evidence from which we will be able to prepare our report.” It is also possible to submit further views or suggestions that are perhaps not covered by the general questions set.

Topics include what people perceive to be ‘criminal acts’ by doctors, the experience of patients and their families, processes leading up to a criminal investigation, inquiries by a coroner or procurator fiscal, police investigations and decisions to prosecute and the professional regulatory process.

The working group behind the review is intending to hear oral evidence and hold workshops, with specific events being held for trainees, patients and the public across the UK towards the end of this year.

Given the strength of feeling amongst health professionals following the recent decisions affecting Dr Bawa Garba, individuals or Trusts collectively may wish to engage in the Marx Review. In the meantime, should you wish to discuss the implications of the recent decisions for your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact Liz Hackett.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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