Hospitals should be scrutinised as part of investigations into doctors following the unexpected deaths of patients

Hospitals should be scrutinised as part of investigations into doctorsfollowing the unexpected deaths of patients, an independent review suggests.

The report, commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC), calls for a shift towards "a just and fair culture when things go wrong", to bettersupport staff and improve patient safety.

It also suggests the need for the medical regulator to rebuild its relationshipwith doctors, in light of the backlash over the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba.

The trainee paediatrician was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter in 2015 over the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock at Leicester Royal Infirmary from sepsis in 2011.

Leslie Hamilton, chairman of the independent review of gross negligencemanslaughter and culpable homicide in medical practice, said the case of Dr Bawa-Garba spread "toxic fear" through the profession, and led to a loss of self-confidence among doctors.

He said:

A tribunal decided Dr Bawa-Garba should remain on the medical register despite her conviction, but the GMC faced an outcry from doctors after it took the case to the High Court and she was struck off last January.

Many doctors complained important issues raised by the case - includingdangerous levels of understaffing, failures of IT systems, and staff beingrequired to work in inappropriate conditions - had been ignored.<

In August last year, the Court of Appeal ruled Dr Bawa-Gaba should be restored to the medical register, and in April, it was decided she could practise again.

"Although the relationship between doctors and the GMC had been deteriorating for some time, what finally triggered the wave of anger was the action of the GMC in successfully appealing the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) not to erase her name from the medical register," Mr Hamilton said.

In its review, the working group found evidence of "poorly conducted localinvestigations" following unexpected deaths, with a focus on individual blame.

Among its recommendations, it suggests that when doctors are investigated for gross negligence manslaughter or culpable homicide "the appropriate external authority should scrutinise the systems within the department where the doctor worked".

"Where the doctor is a trainee, this should include scrutiny of the educationand training environment by bodies responsible for education and training," the report adds.

"The NHS is one of the safest health systems in the world, but it can bebetter," Mr Hamilton said.

"And the way to improve patient safety is to change the attitude when thingsgo wrong and errors happen, instead of blaming an individual, we learn from that and we make the system safer."

The review also calls for the GMC to "take immediate steps to rebuild doctors' trust".

Charlie Massey, GMC chief executive, said: