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OT convicted of drink-driving spared sanction

HCPC says it is not in the wider public interest to sanction OT convicted of drink driving

Published on 7th December 2017

An occupational therapist who was convicted of drink-driving has escaped a sanction from the Health and Care Professions Council.

Laura Wilkins was convicted of driving a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion in her blood exceeded the prescribed limit on 21 October 2016 at Central and South West Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court.

However, the HCP Panel was “favourably impressed” by Ms Wilkins evidence as to her reflections on her conviction and the steps that she has taken to address the issues which gave rise to it and decided that no sanction was required.

The circumstances of the offence were that on 12 September 2016 Ms Wilkins was involved in a minor road traffic accident when driving her car to collect her children from school. Police attended the scene and breathalysed her and she was recorded as having 190 milligrams of alcohol in her blood, the legal limit being 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

On 21 October 2016 at South Western Magistrates’ Court she pleaded guilty to the offence and was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 20 months, to be reduced by 5 months if she satisfactorily completed an approved course. She was also fined £380 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge and a contribution towards prosecution costs.

The Panel noted that the aggravating factor in the case is that Ms Wilkins potentially put her child and members of the public at risk by driving when she was considerably over the prescribed limit of alcohol.

However, they highlighted that:

• The drink-driving offence was an isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished 14 year career as an Occupational Therapist.

• She made full admissions to the police at the time of the offence and pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court. She immediately informed her employer and the HCPC of her conviction.

• She has successfully completed a Drink-Drive Offenders Course.

• She has fully engaged with the HCPC in these proceedings and was open and honest in her evidence to the Panel.

• She has shown considerable remorse and insight both as to the causes of her behaviour and the consequences for herself professionally and personally.

• She has shown an impressive determination to rehabilitate herself and to avoid any future lapse.

“The Panel has no concerns about the Registrant’s competence or safety as an Occupational Therapist. A sanction is not required for the protection of the public. The Panel considered that, in the particular circumstances of this case, a sanction was not required in the wider public interest,” said the Panel.

 

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