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OT struck off for drink driving conviction

Occupational therapist is struck off the register after being convicted of being six times over the prescribed limit

Published on 18th February 2019

An occupational therapist has been struck off the register following a drink driving conviction.

Mrs Beth McDowall, who was an Occupational Therapist employed by NHS Tayside as a manager, was convicted at Perth Sheriff Court of driving with excess alcohol in October 2017.

Mrs McDowall was stopped by the police as concerned members of the public had contacted the police reporting that she was driving erratically. She was breathalysed and her blood alcohol reading was 151mgs in 100 millilitres of breath at the test taken at the police station. This exceeded the prescribed limit of 22ugs in 100 millilitres of breath and meant she was in excess of six times over the prescribed limit (in Scotland).

On the 8 November 2017, Mrs McDowall was sentenced and received a sentence of four months imprisonment, disqualification from driving for 66 months and her driving licence was endorsed.

She had previously been suspended by the regulator in January 2014 following an earlier conviction for driving with excess alcohol on 27 February 2013.

The Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service considered a suspension. They noted that Mrs McDowall had stated she was under considerable pressure due to personal circumstances, she had expressed remorse, albeit limited, and she has stated that she is no longer drinking.

However, they considered that Mrs McDowall already had a conviction for driving with excess alcohol, she had been suspended in January 2014 following an earlier conviction for driving with excess alcohol on 27 February 2013, members of the public were put at risk, the alcohol reading was very high and there is a high risk of repetition.

The Panel said that "although the Registrant has participated in some treatment and expressed some remorse., he has not however demonstrated insight into her behaviour".

It noted the Registrant’s adverse regulatory history in respect of a similar conviction.

"The Panel considered all the circumstances of the case was and in particular the gravity of this conviction and the earlier conviction for which she received a suspension as recently as 2014. The Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant is fit to practise as an Occupational Therapist, and that the Registrant’s behaviour is remediable," said the Panel.

"A Suspension Order would not adequately address the public interest concerns in this case. The Panel determined that a Suspension Order would not adequately protect the public and address the wider public interest. It would be insufficient to protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process," the Panel added.

Therefore, having carefully considered all of the evidence before it and the powers available to it, the Panel determined that it is in the public interest to strike Mrs McDowall from the HCPC register.

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