A GP has been allowed to keep working despite being caught drink-driving in three years because his patients need him.
Dr John Thompson, 73, was almost double the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his motorbike in 2015 and 2018 – warned he could be struck off for his behaviour.
But the elderly GP managed to keep his job after presenting testimonials saying how ‘valued” he still was in North Wales due to his out-of-hours medical work.
The doctor had first received a written warning in October 2015 after he crashed his motorbike on the A55 at Abergwyngregyn, near Bangor, with tests later finding he had a blood alcohol level of 149 milligrams.
The legal alcohol limit is 80mg.
Despite the warning, Thompson failed a breath test again in April last year after he crashed his bike again inside the Penmaenbach tunnel also on the A55 after taking it for a spin following a wine fuelled argument with his wife during their evening meal over his long weekend working hours.
Tests showed he had 158mg in blood and he was subsequently disqualified from driving for 40 months and fined £1,500 with £235 costs. No one was injured in either accident.
Speaking at a Medical Practioner’s Tribunal Service, the doctor said: “I can only say how many times since then I wished I hadn’t done that.”
He has since vowed to sell his bike, and sworn off alcohol.
Lawyer for the General Medical Council Ian Brooks said it had been a “flagrant disregard for the law”.
But he said patients spoke of him in “glowing terms” and had never seen him affected by alcohol.
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In ordering Thompson to work under supervision for 12 months panel chairman Robert Ward said: ”Dr Thompson’s insight appears to be limited to what he understands to be the causative factors, namely owning a motorcycle and drinking alcohol, which he believes he has addressed by selling his motorcycle and abstaining from alcohol.
“However, the Tribunal is of the view that Dr Thompson has not fully addressed the central issue of his errors of judgement and is therefore concerned a risk of further errors of judgement or breaking the law in future remains. But it is clear Dr Thompson is a highly regarded doctor who provides a valuable service in a geographical area of great need.
“The Tribunal recognised the benefit to Dr Thompson’s local community in him being able to continue to serve them.”
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