Doctor caught drink-riding twice in three years keeps his job

A GP who rode drunk and crashed his BMW motorcycle twice in the space of three years retains his medical licence.

Police bike

An experienced elderly GP who faced dismissal and career ruin when he was caught drink-riding twice in a three-year time span is to keep his job after a tribunal where he claimed his patients needed him due to a shortage of out-of-hours doctors. 

Dr John Thompson, 73, who often works weekends (8am to 8pm Sat and Sun), had been informed that he could be struck off after he was convicted of excess alcohol offences in both 2015 and 2018 following drink-riding accidents on his motorcycle.

 (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

But after presenting testimonials to a disciplinary panel of how ‘valued’ he still was in North Wales he has been allowed to carry on practising medicine whilst under supervision. According to the Manchester Evening News Dr Thompson said he had given up drinking and was selling his BMW motorbike. 

Thompson, who qualified at St Andrews University, Scotland, in 1969, had served as a GP for 45 years, but after retirement in 2013 agreed to undertake out-of-hours work for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in Bangor, Wales.

The doctor was given a formal warning by health watchdogs in October 2015 after he crashed his motorcycle on the A55 at Abergwyngregyn, when he agreed to a sign a social services document despite drinking whisky to soothe a toothache. 

Tests during the first accident showed he was almost double the blood alcohol limit with at 149 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg. 

Not learning his lesson the first time, Thompson once more on the A55 crashed the same BMW motorcycle after an alleged argument with his wife, subsequently failing a breath test. 

These results showed a blood alcohol level of158mg. He was banned from driving for 40 months and fined by £1,500 by the court plus £235 costs. 

Although no one was injured in the accidents do you think the punishment Dr Johnson received is fair? Should he still be a practising medical professional? 

Let us know in the comments below. 

DVLA Drink-driving penalties 

You may get:

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 1 year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

You may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

You won’t automatically get your licence back if you’re a high risk offender.