A TRAINEE doctor who faced possible career ruin after she faked a prescription form in an attempt to get herself antibiotics for an ”embarrassing” medical problem has escaped with a written warning.
Dr Ashleigh Williams, 28, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct after she used a colleague’s name in an illicit attempt to acquire Amoxicillin tablets on the false pretext they were for her younger sister.
The GP trainee who works at Burnley General Hospital, Lancs, had been said to be ”embarrassed” because of a medical problem she needed the prescription for.
But she was caught out after the pharmacist became suspicious and contacted the prescribing doctor who could not recall signing off the prescription.
The antibiotic is often used for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections.
The doctor herself wept at the hearing and said: ”I did something really stupid but I didn’t believe that at the time. I just thought it was a prescription for antibiotics but it has had a massive impact on myself and my confidence and I think it has been a huge strain on my relationship. It was completely out of character – I don’t know what was going through my head at the time.
”The biggest thing was lying about it as well. I shouldn’t have done that – there are so many different ways I could have dealt with it. I have just tried to make up for it since. I understand that the prescribing doctor is affected too – I have known her for quite a period of time I have worked with her it must be really difficult for her to be able to trust me again as a doctor. I have lost her trust.
“The following day they gave me some antibiotics anyway. The biggest thing for me has been being open to my colleagues about my health needs, I don’t think embarrassment is an issue. I have tried to be very open with everyone, I have done the reading and booked onto courses about risk, apologising, learned that if you lie that has a knock on effect. I realised I have to be open and honest.
”I have tried as best I could I can prove I’m an honest trustworthy doctor.”
Health chiefs investigated the incident but declined to take further action against Williams who was described by colleagues as a ”high flier” and a ”model doctor.”
She was subsequently advised to report herself to the General Medical Council and was ordered to face a disciplinary hearing.
At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Manchester, Williams who is due to complete her training in August was criticised for her dishonesty but a disciplinary panel said her fitness to practise medicine was not impaired.
It instead imposed a warning on the doctor’s record saying she has to be ”honest and trustworthy in all communications with colleagues and patients.”
She has since completed what was described as a ”Signicant Event Analysis” of the incident.
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Chairman Catherine Hartley said: ”Dr Williams’ dishonest conduct was a clear breach of principles relating to probity and was an example of a clearly inappropriate attempt to self-prescribe. However the Tribunal was fully satisfied that Dr Williams is a highly competent and responsible clinician who presents no risk to the health, safety and well-being of the public.”
The incident occurred on March 26 last year after Williams who was working in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at the hospital attended a pharmacy and falsely saying her younger sister needed more antibiotics as she had lost them.
The hospital itself carried out an internal inquiry at the hospital but concluded Williams had realised her mistake and that it was a ”momentary lapse of judgement.”
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