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21 February 2014
We were instructed by a Doctor in relation to a warning he had received for a driving conviction and a failure to notify the GMC in good time. During a busy period of his career as the Dr was finishing his final exams and assessments, he had not reported a driving conviction to the GMC. Upon re registering some 4 months later he fully disclosed the conviction.
The conviction was for having 2 extra passengers in the back seat of his car. The GMC investigation case worker assessed it and found it appropriate for a warning to be given. Our client believed that a warning would have a detrimental effect so early on in his career and therefore challenged that decision.
The challenge was made to the investigations panel. On this occasion after hearing full mitigation, the panel determined that:-
"The offence put people at risk and was premeditated and for those reasons a warning was appropriate".
The guidance is not clear as to when a conviction warrants a warning or not. The guidance gives examples of categories of offences for which a warning could be considered rather than referral to a fitness to practice hearing.
These include drunk and disorderly and drink driving together which coupled with good mitigation could warrant a warning rather than a fitness to practice referral. However, an offence under the construction of use regulations or road traffic offence which could only be heard in Court and not by way of a fixed penalty notice, appears to be of a lesser degree of risk to the public than those within the guidance and capable of being resolved with no further action.
The decision above should not dissuade doctors from considering challenging warning notices if those are given. If you have a professional conduct issue; call our Business Crime Solicitors for a free initial consultation on freephone 0800 916 9054 or contact us online.
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