Norfolk and Norwich Hospital nurse caught drink-driving to work

A nurse who drove to work at more than three times the legal drink-drive limit has been given a caution order by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Olivia Chippendale was en route to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in September 2012 when her car hit another and she was breathalysed.

A month later she admitted driving with excess alcohol and was banned for two years and fined £600 by magistrates.

The NMC found her fitness to practise impaired and imposed a two-year order.

The Conduct and Competence Committee heard Chippendale was on her way to a night shift and was wearing her uniform when she crashed into a car that had stopped at traffic lights.

When breathalysed, she gave a reading of 120mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

The panel said it considered her criminal conviction to be "a breach of the fundamental tenets of the nursing profession" and noted Chippendale was "significantly over the drink-drive limit and on her way to work".

It noted that she had had no referrals to the NMC since the incident, when she had been under "personal stress", and there had never been any issue with her clinical practice.

It concluded there was no question of public safety in regard to her clinical skills but made the caution order to mark the seriousness of the panel's findings and to alert any future employers.

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