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27 doctors in Northern Ireland have criminal record

Published 19/08/2015

Twelve doctors in Northern Ireland have convictions for drink-driving while two have been prosecuted for drug offences
Twelve doctors in Northern Ireland have convictions for drink-driving while two have been prosecuted for drug offences

Twenty-seven registered doctors in Northern Ireland have a criminal record.

Twelve have convictions for drink-driving while two have been prosecuted for drug offences, the General Medical Council (GMC) confirmed.

Five doctors have more than one conviction, including one who was prosecuted for a motoring crime spree that included driving under the influence, dangerous driving and failing to stop.

Alliance Party MLA Kieran McCarthy, who sits on Stormont's health committee, said: "It is disappointing and worrying that doctors who play a vital role in our community allow themselves to fall into error."

Ten doctors, six men and four women, racked up convictions for dangerous driving while other motoring offences such as speeding, driving without care and attention and driving without insurance were also recorded.

Mr McCarthy added: "The public expect our doctors to have more sense than even to consider getting behind the wheel of a car if they have consumed alcohol. There can be no excuse for drink-driving. It is totally unacceptable."

Between 2012 and 2015, two doctors were suspended from the GMC register including one for drug-related offences.

No doctors were struck off for drug abuse.

The figures were obtained following a freedom of information request from the Press Association.

Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: "As these figures show, the vast majority of doctors are law-abiding with less than 1% of those in Northern Ireland having a criminal conviction, mostly driving offences.

"We are committed to ensuring that any doctors who pose a risk to patients or themselves are restricted from practising and we will always call for those who have committed a serious criminal offence to be suspended or struck off the register by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

"Doctors with restrictions on their registration who are allowed to remain registered with us despite concerns about their practice are closely monitored and a serious or persistent failure to comply can put their right to practise medicine at risk."

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