About this event

  • Date and time Thu 17 Dec 2020 from 7:00pm to 8:45pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Anaesthesia

In the fourth and final episode of the fascinating When things go wrong - doctors in the dock series, experts highlight the harsh reality of increasing litigation fees and expenses in the NHS. When the equivalent of ¾ of the annual budget of a healthcare system has to be reserved for litigation compensation, something, somewhere is wrong. This webinar will explore how can we deal with the rising tide of litigation in the NHS? And how can we get it right?

What have we learned from the way doctors have been dealt with over the last years? How can we do better for patients? How can we achieve trust and fair retribution? How have the Regulators changed clinical practice? What has the future to offer or to tell us?

All will be discussed and examined.  

Free to attend and CPD accredited. 

Webinar topics include:

  • How we can protect ourselves as healthcare professionals, at the same time setting the highest possible clinical standards, in a challenging environment
  • How to implement the latest guidance by Regulators
  • We analyse what can be done to advance clinical quality and safety in the right direction, with renewed trust between doctors and patients, whilst understanding the challenging environment we work in
  • Where does the law stand with regards to medical errors in a challenging healthcare system?
  • What can we do to reduce the crippling cost of litigation in the NHS, in a fair and just system and culture?

The Anaesthesia Section would like to thank our Series Sponsors The MDU, The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, The Medical Protection Society and Slater and Gordon for their valued support of the entire series. We would also like to thank Bevan Brittan and EIDO Healthcare for their sponsorship of this webinar. Please note that the scientific programme and content has not been influenced in any way by the sponsors.

This webinar is part of the When things go wrong - doctors in the dock series. The series will consist of 4 free webinars and examines all aspects of 'when things go wrong' from medical insurers to witnesses and finally, how do we deal with the rising tide of litigation in the NHS and still advance clinical quality and safety. This series is appropriate for all healthcare professionals to attend.

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Key speakers

David Sellu

Mr David Sellu FRCS

Author of Did he save lives – A Surgeon’s Story, and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon

Speaker's biography

David Sellu was a Surgeon with a distinguished record extending over 40 years. In February 2010, David operated on a patient with a perforated bowel. Despite David’s efforts, the patient died two days later. David was understandably devastated at the death of his patient.


There followed a sequence of extraordinary events that led to David being tried at the Old Bailey and convicted of Gross Negligence Manslaughter. He served 15 months in prison and was eventually released on licence until the remainder of the two-and-a-half year sentence expired.


Friends and colleagues up and down the country, as well as David’s former patients, were appalled at what happened and the situation turning into a criminal case with one individual, the surgeon, being singled out to take blame for the whole chain of uncontrollable events.


With Dr Jenny Vaughan leading the campaign, he won an appeal against his conviction and is now a free man. But the extensive reputational and emotional damage had already been done.


The thousands of lives David had saved over his 40 year unblemished career as a General and Cancer Surgeon are testimony to his skills. The shock waves caused by the conviction of a Senior Surgeon with a previously distinguished career have led more members of the medical profession to practise defensive medicine. This means that patients who are considered high risk (especially when it comes to operations) may not get the choices they deserve. This could have a huge impact on patient care in the future as our population ages and their health needs become more complex.

Dr Oliver Quick

Dr Oliver Quick

Reader in Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Health, Law and Society, University of Bristol, UK

Speaker's biography

Dr Quick's monograph Patient Safety: The End of Professional Dominance? (Cambridge University Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the St Petersburg International Legal Forum Book Prize.

Oliver has also written widely about the application of Gross Negligence Manslaughter in healthcare, having studied the work of Crown Prosecutors and Expert Witnesses in this context. His research was heavily cited in the Independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide established by the General Medical Council. He is a member of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Risk Group.

Tom Draycott

Professor Tim Draycott, MD, BSc, MBBS, FRCOG,

Consultant Obstetrician, Southmead Hospital, UK

Speaker's biography

Professor Draycott trained in London and the south west of England with valuable time working in France, Sweden and South Africa.

Professor Draycott jointly leads the PROMPT course that has been successfully implemented in more than 70 countries globally and he leads a world leading intrapartum and maternity safety research centre.

Tim was awarded Hospital Doctor of the Year, he has been recognised as an NHS Hero, and he was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Excellence in Education by HRH the Queen for his research.

Professor Draycott is the senior maternity advisor to NHS Resolution, he co-chairs safety initiatives by NHS Improvement, he was the first director of the Tommy’s Maternity Improvement Centre in the UK and he is Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Mr Leslie Hamilton

Mr Leslie Hamilton

Chair of the Independent Review of GNM, member of the working group commissioned by the GMC to review Gross Negligence Manslaughter, Assistant Coroner, and retired Cardiac Surgeon 
Speaker's biography
Prompted by the experience of giving evidence to the Bristol Inquiry, Leslie undertook an LLM in Medical Law during his time as a Consultant. He is a retired cardiac surgeon who currently sits as Assistant Coroner. He provides opinions in medico-legal cases. As a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons he helped to write Good Surgical Practice (and subsequent guidance on consent). He was a member of the working group commissioned by the GMC to review Gross Negligence Manslaughter chaired by Dame Clare Marx - when she was appointed as Chair of the GMC he took over as chair of the Independent Review of GNM (published July 2019).


View the programme

Welcome and introduction 

Dr Wim Blancke President Elect, Royal Society of Medicine, Anaesthesia Section and Professor Humphrey Scott appointed Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine 

Mr Leslie Hamilton, Chair, Independent Review of GNM, Member, GMC Commissioned Working Group reviewing Gross Negligence Manslaughter, Assistant Coroner and Retired Cardiac Surgeon

Dr Oliver Quick, Reader in Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Health, Law and Society, University of Bristol 

Professor Tim Draycott, Consultant Obstetrician, Southmead Hospital, Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 

Mr David Sellu, Author of Did he save lives – A Surgeon’s Story”, and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon 

Comfort break/ Sponsorship presentation 
Panel discussion

Chaired by Professor Humphrey Scott appointed Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine 

End of webinar




Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s ​weekly COVID-19 Series ​webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

This webinar will be available for registered delegates for 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place.  

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels. 

When things go wrong - doctors in the dock webinar series

All episodes in this series are free to book. Registration will close 2 hours before the start time of each webinar. 

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