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Cases unlikely to result in referral

There may be a presumption that some action should be taken when the concerns relate to dishonesty. There are, however, some cases alleging dishonesty that are minor in nature so that referral to a DC hearing would be disproportionate. Advice may be satisfactory in such instances.

The following issues, for example, are unlikely to result in a referral to the DC: 

Non-referral to a DC hearing

  1. Convictions of a less serious nature which would not impact on a veterinary surgeon’s fitness to practise, such as minor domestic disturbances or minor road traffic offences, unless there are exceptional aggravating features (please note that some minor offences may result in a referral if they have been numerous and there are aggravating circumstances).
  2. Veterinary fees and charges unless so extreme as to constitute serious professional misconduct.

Examples of convictions and cautions that have resulted in a case being closed with advice to the veterinary surgeon and not referred to the DC might include one-off drink/driving offences where the PIC is satisfied that there are no underlying health concerns. If there are health concerns, we recognise that sometimes it will be in the public interest to deal with veterinary surgeons suffering from adverse health without referring a case to the DC for a formal hearing. More information about the RCVS Health Protocol is available online at