The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has accepted voluntary undertakings from a former County Down-based veterinary surgeon to remove himself from the Register and to not apply to be restored to it.
The hearing for Banbridge-based Stephen Cargill Wilson took place on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 September 2020 with two charges raised against him.
The first charge was that, on or around 20 October 2017, he provided inaccurate information to an insurer in respect of a Labrador he treated by saying that the dog was presented to him with a lame left foreleg on 13 June 2017, when in fact the dog was presented for treatment on 7 June 2017 and that his conduct was therefore dishonest and misleading.
The second charge was that between 17 January 2017 and 17 January 2018 he failed to have any arrangements in place for Professional Indemnity Insurance (a requirement of the Code of Professional Conduct) and then, that between 8 January and 5 December 2019, he failed to respond to reasonable requests from the RCVS regarding his Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Prior to the hearing, in March 2020, Mr Wilson had made an application to the Committee to adjourn the hearing subject to the Committee accepting his undertakings to remove himself from the Register and never to apply to be restored.
Mr Wilson’s legal representative at the hearing submitted to the Disciplinary Committee that granting the application would be in the public interest on the basis that Mr Wilson was 68 years of age and had now retired from the profession and closed his practice, that he had dedicated his entire working life to veterinary practice, had a previously long and unblemished career with no other complaints, and that he was well-regarded by clients and professional colleagues.
Furthermore, he said that the undertakings would protect animal welfare and the reputation of the profession as Mr Wilson would no longer be practising and that there were a number of precedents of such applications being accepted by the Committee.
The application was not opposed by the RCVS whose representative informed the Committee that, relating to the charge of dishonesty, the College had taken into account that the insurance claim form was not submitted by Mr Wilson himself, and that there is no evidence of any financial motivation behind the charge nor any allegation of harm to an animal.
Taking into account the submissions from Mr Wilson’s representatives and from the RCVS, as well as precedent cases for such applications, the Committee decided that Mr Wilson’s voluntary undertakings went well beyond any sanction that could be imposed by the Committee and considered that the application would protect the public interest, confidence in the profession, and the welfare of animals.
Professor Alistair Barr FRCVS, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee decided that this is not a case in which the public interest or the welfare of animals demands that there be a full hearing, with determinations made by the Disciplinary Committee. Taking into account proportionality, and weighing in the balance the public interest, the interests of justice, the need to protect the welfare of animals, as well as the interests of both parties, the Committee decided to accede to the respondent’s application.”
The full findings of the Disciplinary Committee can be found on the Disciplinary hearing webpage.