About this event

  • Date and time Fri 26 Oct 2018 from 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Anaesthesia, Patient Safety

Litigation, both civil and criminal, against doctors is increasing, but so are the costs involved, potentially even crippling the NHS, but not always benefiting patient safety as it should.  

In this conference we explore what happens when things go wrong, in the medical world, and with patients, and the current, correct legal meaning, definitions, interpretation and consequences in the UK of Consent, Negligence vs. Gross Negligence, and Manslaughter.  

Delegates will look at the issues at stake, and at the highest level, bringing together authorities, health care and legal professionals, regulators, the media, patients and their representatives.

Topics include: 

  • When things go wrong' from different perspectives 
  • How things can go wrong so they can be prevented in the future 
  • The possibility of complaints and how to deal with them 
  • The implications of when things go wrong, including possible inquests and media attention. 

Key speakers

Alan Merry

Professor Alan Forbes Merry

Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland 

Professor Merry practises anaesthesia and chronic pain management at Auckland City Hospital, and is Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland. He is a former Councillor of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, and Chair of the Board of the NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.  

Professor Merry is also on the Board of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, and of Lifebox, an international charitable initiative to improve standards of surgery and anaesthesia in low income areas of the world.  

Sir Norman Williams

Professor Sir Norman Williams

Chair of the Professor Sir Williams Review 

Sir Norman Stanley Williams FRCS FRCP FRCPE FMedSci is a British surgeon and former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was knighted in the 2015 New Year Honours. 

Professor Sir Williams is now the Chair in reviewing issues relating to gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare. The Professor Sir Williams Review was set up to conduct rapid policy reviews surrounding these situations.  

David Sellu

Dr David Sellu

Honorary Consultant Surgeon, St Marks' Hospital London 

  As seen in recent news, Dr Sellu is the Consultant Surgeon who went to prison for gross negligence manslaughter, and whose sentence was overturned on appeal. 

  Dr Sellu's ordeal with the media and courts, has opened the public's and clinician's eyes to the reality of when things go wrong in healthcare, and the implications for those involved.  


View the Programme

Registration, Tea and Coffee


When things go wrong - Setting the Scene

Welcome & Introduction

Dr David Bogod, Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust 

A personal, but positive account

Ruth Poole

The rising cost of clinical negligence: who pays the price?

Rob Hendry

The Law & the Legal perspective for Clinicians

Giles Eyre, Barrister, Associate member, Chambers of Andrew Ritchie

Getting it right – Negligence vs. Gross Negligence Manslaughter in Clinical practice

Dr Oliver Quick, Reader in Law, University of Bristol Law School

Tea and coffee break

When things go wrong - Errors, Medicine and the Law

Professor Robin Ferner, Honorary Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Birmingham

Errors, Medicine and the Law - Towards a better International approach

Professor Alan Merry, Head of School of Medicine, University of Auckland and Board Member and Honorary Treasurer - WFSA

Equipment failure - How to deal with it?

Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Reader in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Birmingham

Freedom to speak up – Why does it matter?

Dr David Nicholl, Clinical Lead for Neurology, City Hospital, Birmingham

Panel discussion

Dealing with Complaints and Complications

Dr Andrew Hartle, Consultant Anaesthetist, Imperial College and Dr Anna-Maria Rollin, Trustee of Patients Association 

Gross Negligence Manslaughter in Healthcare - A rapid policy review

Professor Sir Norman Williams, Senior Clinical Advisor, Secretary of State and Chairman, National Clinical Improvement Programme (NCIP)

The patient’s perspective

Lucy Watson, Chair, The Patients Association

The Medical Directors' Perspective

Professor Justin A. Vale, Deputy Medical Director, Imperial College Healthcare Trust

The Inquest

Dr Karen Henderson, HM Coroner, South East England – London Coroners Group

Supporting the Second Victim

Ian Barker, Senior Criminal Solicitor, MDU

Tea and Coffee Break

Who is the Expert? Getting it right, first time?

Dr Elizabeth Haxby, President Elect, Patient Safety Section, Royal Society of Medicine and Professor Rodger Kirby, Chairman of Academic Board, Royal Society of Medicine 

Looking for the best expert witness

Mr Rick Porter, Governor, Expert Witness Institute and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Royal United Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Bath

Know what you are doing – Informed Consent

Mr Bertie Leigh, Consultant, Chairman NCEPOD - National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death

The press, media and Medicine: Noblesse oblige

Dr David Sellu, Honorary Consultant Surgeon, St Marks' Hospital London

Panel discussion
Concluding remarks
Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom