A dental trainee gets arrested for drink driving in the first week of his new placement.
Dr A, a dental core trainee, was out having a few drinks with colleagues after his first week in the hospital. Dr A intended to join the group for one drink before driving the 20-mile journey to his partner’s house for the weekend.
It had been a busy first week in practice and Dr A had enjoyed his first patient interactions. One patient, Mr G, had been a particular highlight; Mr G had not attended a dentist for over 15 years owing to dental anxiety. Dr A had taken the time to discuss Mr G’s concerns and explain his treatment options before agreeing a treatment plan. Mr G had been so impressed with Dr A’s patience and kind manner that he had gifted him a bottle of whisky to say thank you.
Feeling satisfied with a good first week, Dr A decided to share the bottle of whisky with some of his colleagues, including having a small glass for himself. Shortly after this, Dr A said goodbye and set off on his journey home.
Unfortunately, whilst pulling out from the side of the road, Dr A was hit from behind by a car travelling at speed. Fortunately, nobody was injured, and two police officers attended to assist. Dr A was asked to provide a routine breath sample and was found to have excess alcohol in his system.
Dr A was arrested and subsequently charged with drink driving.
If you need to self-refer to the GDC, you should seek advice from Dental Protection immediately.
How did Dental Protection help?
Dr A sought independent legal advice and assistance with the subsequent criminal investigation and was advised by his specialist road traffic solicitors to contact Dental Protection for advice.
Dental Protection advised Dr A that he was under a professional obligation to notify the GDC of his charge. Dental Protection was able to assist with notifying the GDC and then further assisted when the GDC initiated ‘fitness to practise’ proceedings against him. Dr A was invited to meet with a regulatory solicitor and an experienced dentolegal consultant who were able to support Dr A through the process and assist him with responding to the GDC’s allegations.
Fortunately, after a period of investigation, the case was concluded with a published warning and Dr A was able to continue practicing unrestricted.
It is important to remember how criminal charges off duty can impact your career. In the GDC’s guidance on reporting criminal proceedings, states: “You must inform the GDC immediately if you are subject to criminal proceedings or a regulatory finding is made against you anywhere in the world.”1
Failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk. If you need to self-refer to the GDC, you should seek advice from Dental Protection by calling 0800 561 1010 immediately.