A BUPA doctor has been let off with a warning after holding a clinic for patients while still drunk from the night before.
Consultant radiologist Dr Margaret Phelan, 67, attended Cromwell Hospital in Kensington for a series of consultations, despite still being drunk from a party to celebrate her son’s job promotion, a medical tribunal heard.
A disciplinary panel at the Medical Practitioners Service in Manchester said the incident was a ‘one off’ and she posed no risk to the public.
The mother-of-three arrived at work at 8.30am on April 17, 2019 and carried out an ultrasound scan on a man after drinking red wine the night before, a hearing was told.
She was due to treat a child before a senior colleague advised her to leave after allegedly noticing she was unsteady on her feet and smelling alcohol on her breath.
Ms Phelan is said to have ignored suggestions to get a taxi and tried to drive herself home, leading a security guard to call the police to the hospital.
A breath test at Belgravia police station showed she had 82 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than double the legal limit of 35mg.
She was fined £1,490 after pleading guilty to drink driving at Westminster magistrates court on May 1 2019. The doctor was also banned from the roads for 20 months, although this was reduced when she completed a drink-drive awareness course.
Dr Phelan faced misconduct charges at a tribunal in Manchester last week but was deemed fit to practise medicine.
She is due to retire from full-time medicine in 2023 and resigned last December as clinical director for radiology at HCA Healthcare’s Harley Street Clinic.
Tribunal chairman Nathan Moxon issued Phelan with a warning which will be on her record for five years.
He said: ‘Dr Phelan could have caused significant harm to other road users whilst driving under the influence of alcohol. Her work performance could also have been foreseeable impaired, which put her patients at risk of harm.
‘But the Tribunal noted Dr Phelan had taken advantage of all the help that she had been offered in the aftermath of the incident. It had regard to her letter of apology and she has served her criminal sentence, sought support and attended a relevant course on drink driving.
‘The tribunal noted it was a one-off in an otherwise unblemished career. In all the circumstances the tribunal was satisfied that there was not an ongoing risk of harm to the public.’
In a written statement, Dr Phelan described how her actions were ‘wholly out of character and something which I deeply regret’. She also expressed how grateful she was that no one got hurt.
Phelan’s counsel, Michelle Brown, said: ‘She has taken full responsibility for her actions and, whilst embarrassed, she is remorseful and has taken significant steps to remediate.’
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