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Technician receives warning for possession of cocaine

Fitness to practise Rhian Woolley, registration number 5024408, received a warning from the GPhC following her arrest for the possession of class A drug

A pharmacy technician has been given an official warning after she was caught with £40 worth of cocaine in a nightclub.

Rhian Woolley, registration number 5024408, was arrested and cautioned by police for possession of the class A drug in January 2012, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) heard at a fitness-to-practise hearing on February 4 this year.  

The GPhC said it was satisfied Ms Woolley showed "genuine insight and remorse" and that she had been "especially vulnerable" at the time of the offence. But it ruled that she was likely to have "diminished public confidence in the profession" and warned she would face more severe consequences from any further criminal conduct.

Police were called to Sax Nightclub in Bridgend, south Wales, where Ms Woolley and a friend admitted to possession of a bag of cocaine, the GPhC heard.

Rhian Woolley, registration number 5024408, received a warning from the GPhC following her arrest for the possession of a class A drug

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Ms Woolley was taken to a police station, where she told the medical assessor she had been going through a "rough patch" and had been persuaded by a friend that cocaine would "make her feel better", the GPhC heard. Ms Woolley said she had snorted a couple of lines and denied ever having taken the drug before.

In evidence to the committee, Ms Woolley said she had been experiencing " a low point" at the time of the incident. She had been "in the throes" of dealing with a number of health issues relating to herself and close members of her family and she had been off work with an injury at the time of the incident.

Ms Woolley said she had since "severed her connection" with her friend and was "much more cautious" about her social arrangements. Her current job did not require registration, but Ms Woolley said she hoped to return to work as a registered technician in the future.

The GPhC also noted that Ms Woolley was one of a select group redeployed by her employers after redundancy, showing her value to them and "by extension, to the profession and the public".

The GPhC said there was was no doubt that the use of an illicit drug by a pharmacy technician, even on one occasion, was "likely to have diminished public confidence in the profession".

But there was little more Ms Woodlley could have done to demonstrate her insight and remorse as well as her resolve that nothing like this should happen again, it concluded.

It warned that Ms Woolley's "adherence" to both the law and the profession must be "uppermost" in her mind at all times.

Read the full case here.

What do you make of the GPhC's ruling?

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Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

My initial reaction was similar to those sentiments expressed by Gregory - a bit full-on "Daily Mail - reader". For novelty, I thought I would take a step back and look at this a little more dispassionately.
What this technician has done is potentially blighted her future career. OK, the GPhC have effectively let her off with a slap on the wrist but, if she came to you for a job and declared she had been given a warning for cocaine possession, how many of us would truthfully feel able to trust her ? (Note: this is nothing to do with honesty in the sense that she did not steal the drugs). I am not sure I would feel comfortable having a known drug user (once is all it takes) in my dispensary on a daily basis.
Maybe this is the message that the GPhC needs to be spreading, when it gives, what appear to be, light punishment

GREGORY TUCKER, Administration & Support

This total "BS" ! how could she commit such an act and walk away scott free!!! bloody unbelievable!! I dont care what issues she had going on, she knew exactly what she was doing and should of been handed the full force of the law. I know someone who had a nasty manager and set him up by planting a couple of packs of zoton and simvastatin in his rucksack, unbeknown to him, he got stopped by the hospital security, police were called and he was given four months in prison. Yes that's right four months for zoton and simvastatin For which he did not even leave the building with. That's justice huh!

Caroline Mason, Locum pharmacist

If she had been a pharmacist she would have been suspended or struck off the register.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Technicians welcome to our wonderful world of regulation!!!

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