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RCVS Disciplinary Committee restores veterinary surgeon to the Register

20 March 2023

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has restored a Cardiff-based veterinary surgeon to the Register, after she was previously removed in May 2021 for dishonesty over insurance claims.

Dr Nicola Jade Burrows MRCVS was removed from the Register on 11 May 2021 for creating an inaccurate clinical history for her own horse and then dishonestly attempting to make an insurance claim for the treatment of her horse.

Dr Burrows’ adjourned application for restoration to the Register was heard by the Committee on Thursday 9 March to Friday 10 March 2023. In her restoration application, Dr Burrows included continuing professional development (CPD) certificates covering the courses she had completed during the period since her removal from the Register.

Also included were letters/informal witness statements from the veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses she had worked with since her removal from the Register and who expressed a willingness to employ her again were the Committee to permit her name to be restored to the Register, as well as character references and reflection statements.

At the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee considered whether she had accepted the findings of the Committee at the original inquiry hearing, the seriousness of those findings, whether she had demonstrated insight into her past conduct, and the protection of the public and the public interest.

In addition to the documentation provided to the Committee, Dr Burrows also made a detailed opening statement in support of her application.

Within this, she said that the period since her name was removed from the Register was extremely difficult and also emphasised that she now fully and unconditionally accepted all the Committee’s original findings in May 2021, some of which she had previously denied and had failed to acknowledge.

Dr Burrows went on to state that she only had herself to blame for her actions and that she now understood and accepted that the original sanction of removal from the register had needed to be severe given the serious breach of trust to the public, to the veterinary profession and the insurance industry that was a direct consequence of her dishonest actions.

Since removal from the Register, Dr Burrows had taken on the role of receptionist in a Vets4Pets practice in Cardiff, which required her to deal directly with the public and their insurance requests and entitlements. She stated that as a result of her involvement over the past 18 months in processing insurance claims, she acknowledges the “delicate” relationship between veterinary surgeons, clients and insurers.

Additionally, working as a receptionist, had allowed her to recognise the need for contemporaneous and clear clinical notes. She also highlighted her CPD, which was relevant to insurance, as well as the fact she’d undertaken a professional ethics course to assist her rehabilitation, reflection, and insight.

In support of Dr Burrows’ restoration to the Register, the Committee took into account three witness accounts from people who work at the Vets4Pets branch where Dr Burrows works as a receptionist. All witnesses gave positive reflections on Dr Burrows’ character and assured the Committee that they would provide the correct level of support to allow her to return to work safely and that they would have all the necessary safeguarding measures in place to ensure that the public’s and the profession’s interest is always at the forefront.

Judith Way, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee was impressed by the fact that busy professionals chose to give up their time to provide witness statements and give evidence in support of Dr Burrows’ application. All witnesses were clearly supportive of Dr Burrows’ request for restoration to the Register.

“The Committee found Dr Burrows to show remorse and she does now accept the findings of dishonesty that were made against her in the original enquiry hearing and stated that her conduct was dishonest. In the Committee’s view, the evidence given by Dr Burrows on affirmation was very believable and she now accepts her dishonesty together with the gravity of her dishonesty.

“The Committee also formed the view that the steps she has taken to address her dishonesty serve to confirm that she is passionate about the prospect that she be allowed to return to practise. The Committee was impressed by Dr Burrows and the evidence given and is now satisfied that she will ensure the highest standards of probity and honesty in the future.

“Having taken all evidence into account, the Committee is satisfied that the future welfare of animals under Dr Burrows’ responsibility will be properly protected, and that her future dealings with insurers will be honest in all respects and that the interests of the public will be met.”

Full details of the hearing and the Committee’s decision can be found on our Disciplinary Hearings page.

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