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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Cumbrian drink-drive paramedic mum suspended

A paramedic convicted of drink driving and being drunk in charge of a child has been suspended from work for a year.

Louise Staffell wigton photo
Louise Staffell

Thirty-six-year-old Louise Staffell, of Wigton, was suspended by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for a year yesterday.

She had earlier appeared before Carlisle Magistrates’ Court after she was found to be three times the drink drive limit in Wigton when police spotted her driving on the wrong side of the road in February last year.

The council found Staffell’s behaviour was likely to “undermine public confidence in the paramedic profession” and that as a result of it her fitness to practice was “currently impaired.”

Staffell, of Lowmoor Road, Wigton, had a three-year-old child with her in the car at the time, the council heard. She was banned from driving for 31 months by magistrates and given a 12-month community order by the court in Carlisle.

In suspending her, Nicola Bastin, chair of the HCPC disciplinary panel said there was no evidence showing Staffell “had any awareness of the impact of the convictions on her profession.”

“The panel was therefore of the view that the registrant’s criminal convictions undermine public confidence in the paramedic profession, and also for reasons of public protection, that her fitness to practice is currently impaired,” she said. The panel recognised that the registrant had pleaded guilty to these offences at the first reasonable opportunity.”

Staffell was not present or represented at the hearing in London where the suspension was imposed.

When she appeared at court last March, her solicitor Geyve Walker described her as “well educated and intelligent” and said she made “one very serious error of judgement and finds herself before the court.

“She was facing domestic problems at the time of this offence,” he said.

At the time she was working as a paramedic but has since been deprived of her licence to practice.”

Staffell was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and given a six-month alcohol treatment and supervision order.

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