Disciplinary Committee refuses application for restoration from former vet

30 April 2018

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has refused an application to be restored to the Register submitted by a former Kent-based veterinary surgeon who was removed from the Register in 1994.

The restoration hearing for Mr Warwick Seymour-Hamilton took place on Monday 23 April 2018 and was his sixth such application for restoration after being removed from the Register in June 1994, the reasons for which related to the condition of his practice premises and his record-keeping following an inspection by the RCVS. His most recent restoration hearing took place in May 2017.

In his application Mr Seymour-Hamilton said that he wanted to be restored to the Register to aid his research into herbal medicines and, during the course of the hearing, he also challenged some of the evidence given to the Committee in the June 1994 hearing. In particular he challenged the assertion that his practice was open when it was inspected by the RCVS as, he submitted that, he had retired three weeks’ prior to the inspection due to ill-health.

Mr Seymour-Hamilton told the Committee that he did not wish to return to clinical practice but wished to restore his membership of the RCVS in order to prescribe his own herbal treatments and to obtain peer review that would allow his treatments to be licensed. Furthermore, he produced, during the hearing, a continuing professional development (CPD) record card in which he had logged 1,438 hours of CPD in 2017.

In considering his application for restoration the Committee dismissed his challenge to the details of his original hearing in June 1994. Ms Judith Way, Chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee has noted that this issue is ancient. It is not for this Committee to consider it. Moreover the finding of the Committee represents a determination which was not challenged by the applicant until one of the more recent restoration applications. He never appealed it. Nor did he attend at the original hearing.

"It acknowledges that the premises could well have been closed given their condition, but whether they were or not is not for it [the Committee] to decide. It is quite possible the applicant has persuaded himself of the position. This is not an issue which is a persuasive factor in this application.”

“Taking all these matters into account, the Committee has concluded that the applicant has not satisfied it on all of the evidence that he is fit to be restored to the Register and so this application is refused.”

Regarding Mr Seymour-Hamilton’s contention that he would use his RCVS registered status to further his research into herbal treatments Ms Way said: “The Committee accepted there were no direct public protection issues which caused it concern, although it did retain some anxiety that the applicant’s commitment to herbal medicine could govern the way in which he would wish to care for an animal. A more rounded veterinary approach, which involved a full evaluation of an animal’s condition, a coherent diagnosis and a subsequent discussion about treatment with the client is called for.”

Turning to his CPD she added: “His CPD now has a bias for herbal medicine as does his extensive reading. The Committee was not satisfied that his skills are up-to-date and that he could practise veterinary medicine safely. The Committee was not satisfied that he would approach a sick animal with the full and rounded approach required of a veterinary surgeon. Nor did his confidence in this regard allay the concerns of the Committee. He expressed belief in himself on the basis of his practice which came to an end some 24 years ago.”

The Committee did acknowledge that Mr Seymour-Hamilton’s removal from the Register had a considerable impact on him and that, not only is he ashamed of it, but he believes it is frustrating his ability to advance the cause of herbal medicine.

In conclusion, Ms Way said: “Taking all these matters into account, the Committee has concluded that the applicant has not satisfied it on all of the evidence that he is fit to be restored to the Register and so this application is refused.”

Note: This news story is a summary of the Disciplinary Committee's decision which is intended to assist in understanding the decision. The Committee's full findings are the only authoritative documentation.

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