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Disciplinary Committee refuses to restore former Kent-based vet to the Register

18 May 2017

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has dismissed an application to be restored to the Register of Veterinary Surgeons from a former Kent-based veterinary surgeon.

Warwick Seymour-Hamilton was originally removed from the Register in June 1994 for failing to maintain his practice’s equipment and facilities in working order such that it evidenced a total disregard of basic hygiene and care for animals, thereby bringing the profession into disrepute.

The restoration hearing on Monday 15 May was Mr Seymour-Hamilton’s fifth application for restoration, with previous applications being submitted but refused in July 1995, June 2010, January 2015 and March 2016. However, as the Committee made its decision on the merits of the case before it, those previous applications were not considered as relevant to its decision.

Mr Seymour-Hamilton told the Committee that he currently works as a herbalist and naturopath for humans and wished to be restored to the Register so he could include animals in his research, citing his treatment of one of his dogs as evidence.

The Committee rejected his application on a number of grounds, including the impact on animal welfare should Mr Seymour-Hamilton be restored to the Register; the length of time he had been off the Register and the fact that he was therefore not up-to-date with contemporary veterinary practice and professional conduct; that his efforts to keep up-to-date in terms of knowledge, skills and developments in practice were insufficient; and his lack of evidence of public support for him or his work.

Ian Green, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee has very great concerns about the future of the welfare of animals in the event of the applicant being permitted to have his name restored to the Register. He has made it clear that whilst he has no intention to return to routine veterinary general practice, he would intend to treat animals and to continue his research using animals. The Committee observes that were he to be restored to the Register, there would be no power to prevent the applicant practising as a veterinary surgeon in any way he may choose.”

He added: “The applicant has now been off the Register for nearly 23 years. It will be apparent to anyone that the veterinary profession today is in many respects different from what it was 23 years ago, (eg: in terms of medical understanding and its own regulation). The Committee is far from persuaded that the passage of 23 years has not had a negative impact on the applicant’s ability to practise safely and competently as a veterinary surgeon at this present time.”

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