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The aim of the Preliminary Investigation Committee

Aim: To guide the decision-making process of the Preliminary Investigation Committee as it decides whether to refer a case to the RCVS Disciplinary Committee (Stage 3).

The Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC) will balance:

  1. Protection of the public from the risk of practice by veterinary surgeons who for any reason (whether competence, integrity or health) are unfit to practise; and the maintenance of standards;
  2. The maintenance of the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the profession; and the legitimate expectation of the public that concerns of a serious nature will be fully and fairly investigated; and,
  3. The need for legitimate safeguards for the veterinary surgeon who, as a professional person, may be considered particularly vulnerable to, and damaged by, unwarranted charges against him/her.

The PIC must decide whether there is a realistic prospect of proving that what a veterinary surgeon has done, or not done, falls far below the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon and could affect his/her fitness to practise, ie serious professional
misconduct); or, whether any conviction renders him/her unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon (and, for any case, whether relating to conduct or a conviction, that there is a public interest to refer to a Disciplinary Committee [DC] hearing).

The PIC is obliged to consider the merits and facts of each individual case and to exercise its own judgement in making decisions. However, this should be exercised within the framework of the statutory legislation and the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.

The PIC will consider the case in private on the basis of the concerns raised and all information gathered during Stage 1, as well as information gathered during any subsequent investigation it may instigate.