A GP at Hounslow's Cranford Medical Practice has been suspended after prescribing "potentially fatal" sleeping pills for an elderly patient to give her neighbours because they were keeping her up by singing through the night.
Although the drugs did not pose a threat to a healthy adult, a tribunal heard, Dr Alexander Munro's actions could have proved deadly had they fallen into the hand of the neighbours' child after being posted through their letterbox.
The doctor, who is a senior partner at the practice, in Cranford High Street, was suspended for three months after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found his actions amounted to misconduct.
The seven-day tribunal, which concluded on Tuesday (February 9), heard how Dr Munro had assessed the 84-year-old patient on October 15 2013, after she was referred due to concerns over her mental wellbeing.
In prescribing 28 tabs of the sleeping pill Zopiclone for her to pass on to her neighbours, who were not his patients, the tribunal found he failed to take into account their medical background.
He also failed to adequately assess whether she might be suffering from dementia or psychosis, despite her recent history suggesting this could be the case, the tribunal ruled.
'Could have been fatal'
"The tribunal was satisfied that your actions in prescribing the Zopiclone in the manner that you did breached the principles of good clinical care set out therein and therefore fell seriously below the standards expected of a doctor," the ruling stated.
A fellow doctor had told the tribunal how Zopiclone is a potentially addictive prescription drug.
Although the dosage and quantity prescribed was suitable for a healthy adult, Dr Feltbower told the hearing, had it fallen into the hands of the neighbours' child having been posted through their letterbox, it could have "potentially been fatal".
Dr Munro's counsel told the tribunal, sitting on behalf of the General Medical Council (GMC), that the doctor had learned from his actions and made fundamental changes to his working practice as a result.
The suspension will begin 28 days after written notice of the determination is served upon Dr Munro, unless he decides to appeal within that time.
A review will be carried out before he is allowed to return to practice.