More often than not it will, though there are some occasions where FTP is not impaired.

Dr F was convicted of assaulting a police officer by beating him and disorderly behaviour while drunk.  He was fined £490 following his guilty plea.  The circumstances were that he was verbally abusive to the police officer, blew smoke in his face, started bumping into his back and later raised his knee to strike him in the groin.  Dr F’s actions were deliberate and unprovoked and he had ignored repeated warnings from the police officers about his behaviour.  At the MPTS hearing the GMC further alluded to the fact that there were relevant antecedents – four years earlier Dr F was convicted of assaulting a police officer and 5 years earlier he had received a caution for a public order offence.

On the facts however, Dr F’s counsel successfully argued that his FTP was not impaired.  It was accepted that drunken, violent behaviour does risk reputational damage to the medical profession (bringing the profession into disrepute is one of the limbs of guidance frequently referred to by Tribunals when assessing whether FTP is impaired).  Six years prior to the convictions Dr F had suffered a significant head injury that affected his tolerance for alcohol.  He had subsequently carefully reintroduced alcohol having sought clinical advice, though a few days just prior to the incident there had been a traumatic work incident and family issues which elicited an emotional reaction.

Dr F was able to show what the Tribunal described as “an extraordinary level of insight” into the issues.  He made fundamental changes to his lifestyle, proactively sought advice from the Trust’s wellbeing team, read literature on traumatic brain injury and had been abstinent for over a year since his conviction.  There were a number of issues in the case that lent themselves to mitigation.  Dr F was a very careful, conscientious, hard-working doctor.  There were glowing testimonials and he was held in high regard.  There was also no risk to patients.  The Tribunal rejected that that the behaviour was at the low level of seriousness as argued by Dr F’s counsel.  A 2018 GMC research project was also cited that concluded there was very little public appetite for the GMC taking action in cases of low-level violence.

In conclusion the Tribunal decided that a fully informed member of the public or profession would not require a finding of impairment to uphold confidence in the profession or proper standards.  A warning was however issued on the grounds that the behaviour needed to be recorded as unacceptable both as a public matter and as a matter personal to the doctor.

Please note that the comments in this case review are generic, if you have any fitness to practise concerns please contact us for specific advice on your matter.