Dr Andrew Sadler, a junior doctor at University Hospital of North Tees, was convicted at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last year and he was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for six months, and disqualified from driving for 20 months.
A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester examined whether his conviction meant his fitness to practise was impaired.
The hearing was told Dr Sadler had reported himself to the General Medical Council (GMC) after he was told he had been charged .
Sarah Barlow, for the GMC, said the conviction was a serious criminal offence and carried with it the possibility of members of public being put at ‘significant risk’.
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Dr Sadler had given evidence as to why the offences occurred but could not provide an explanation as to why he got into the car in the first place, she said.
Catherine Stock, for Dr Sadler, said he accepted his actions fell seriously below the expected standards of a doctor but it had been a one-off single incident in October 2018 with no evidence of repeated behaviour.
She told the hearing the issues leading up to the conviction had been addressed. He had carried on with his career and was coping well with the stresses and strains of being a junior doctor.
Tribunal chairman David Clark said: “The tribunal noted there is no risk to patients in this case. There are no concerns with regard to Dr Sadler’s clinical practice. The tribunal has seen no evidence the care of his patients was put at risk or his ability compromised.
“Dr Sadler’s actions brought the profession into disrepute and breached a fundamental tenet of the profession by impacting adversely on public trust. However, Dr Sadler has given the Tribunal a detailed explanation of the events that led to the incident in question.
“The Tribunal has determined Dr Sadler’s fitness to practise is not currently impaired by reason of his conviction.”