A judge has lifted a driving ban against an NHS boss because it would be “extremely unfair” to the health authorities if he were off the road during the pandemic.
Donald Richards, 56, faced a driving ban after accumulating maximum points on his driver’s license in September.
One of the incidents where he was disqualified from driving by magistrates was driving at 90 km / h while in a 40 km / h zone on the A40 near Ealing, West London, in October 2019. reports the Daily Star.
But Richards, who earns £ 165,000 as chief financial officer for West Hertfordshire NHS Hospital Trust, has appealed the ban to Kingston Crown Court.
He claimed he faced “exceptional hardships” – and a panel of two judges and a Crown Court judge have decided that the ban should be lifted.
In the ruling, they said this was because of the potential pressure the ban could exert on NHS services.
Richards, who lives in Acton, is based at Watford General Hospital, but also travels to St. Albans and Hemel Hempstead about three times a week, the court was told.
A team of seven people were available one evening a week and he said he would be at one of the hospitals within an hour if there was an emergency.
The car journey takes about 50 minutes, but can take up to twice as long by public transport, the court heard.
Richards said, “I am on the leadership team for the trust.
“My main responsibility is managing resources across the organization, ensuring supplies are purchased and general management in the three hospitals we serve.
“The CEO likes it that we all walk around and talk to the staff, especially at this critical time.
“We have had a very difficult time at the moment, it has become more and more difficult.
“Especially with Covid – we need to organize different types of patients to be isolated in different wards to keep infection to a minimum.
“You must be able to be at that location within an hour. You can be called at any time.”
Prosecutor Charles Drinnan said, “With respect, you have a healthy salary, you could get an Uber or taxi.”
Richards said, “If one was available, there is a question of reliability. You have to appreciate the nature of the calls, it’s not just the Covid-19 situation.
“Our infrastructure is bad, we have disruptions on the estate.
“Every other day we have to make appointments to divert ambulances, move departments or move patients to another location. I do not think so [getting a taxi] would be welcome. “
Judge John Lodge said, “This is a classic exceptional hardness case.
“It makes perfect sense to remind the appellant that what we have presented to us is something that can only be described as an arrogant approach to the car laws in this country.
“There has been an accumulation of points for various offenses in recent years.
“Now that we have brought the case and heard the evidence we have, it would be so grossly unfair, not to this appellant who may be the least of our concerns, but to the NHS trust currently struggling to its limits and need all hands on deck, leadership and management.
“To ask them to suddenly reorganize the position of their departments at one of their most difficult times is to ask them to go a step too far.”