A pharmacist has been suspended from the register for one month after using a Tesco Clubcard to obtain points to which she was not entitled while working as a locum at an in-store pharmacy in Dorset.
Ms Sofia Silva Brito Leonardo Rosa, registration number 2062636, used the Clubcard on 55 occasions between January 8 and 25 2009 to obtain points worth £25.18 on her card, the General Pharmaceutical Council's fitness to practice committee heard.
The majority of the transactions were linked to a promotion Tesco was running at the time, in which one of the prizes was 50 extra Clubcard points when at least £1.50 was spent on any product at the pharmacy counter. Having acquired a winning voucher, Ms Rosa used her own card to obtain points earned on purchases made by customers who either did not have cards or did not use their cards.
Ms Rosa accepted that what she had done was wrong and that she had used her card improperly, but maintained that she was not dishonest as she did not realise at the time that what she was doing was wrong. It was her view that if a customer had consented to the use of points in this way, which she said they had, she could not be doing anything wrong, the fitness to practice committee reported.
The committee did not find that Ms Rosa's actions were dishonest in relation to gaining the consent of customers for use of their cards, but it ruled that she had acted dishonestly in relation to the 43 occasions on which the 50 points voucher was used and showed a "lack of insight" because she was not entitled to these points.
In reaching its decision, the committee cited mitigating factors such as the impressive testimonials from friends and fellow pharmacists Ms Rosa had received, and called her "hardworking, trustworthy and responsible."
Summing up, committee chairman Patrick Milmo said that while Ms Rosa had shown remorse, she had acted dishonestly, albeit on a small scale. "The predominant consideration exercising our minds is that the message must be sent to profession and public that dishonest conduct, even on a small scale, is unacceptable. For that reason we feel bound to direct a period of suspension."
Ms Rosa was suspended for a period of one month, but she is entitled to appeal against the decision.