The RCVS has refused a former vet surgeon’s application for restoration to the register following their removal in July of last year for dishonest statements and actions.
Last year, its disciplinary committee ordered that Dr Sue Dyson be removed from the register after she was found to have fabricated a letter from a fictitious home office inspector in support of a paper she had submitted to a journal, explaining why conducting her research had not required a home office licence.
The original committee made its decision on the basis that her conduct was “knowingly dishonest”.
More conduct was “likely to bring the profession into disrepute and undermine public confidence in it”.
Furthermore, Dyson risked undermining the government’s system designed to promote animal welfare and research ethics.
RCVS committee sitting
In considering Dr Dyson’s application for restoration, the disciplinary committee considering the application had to take into account a number of factors:
- The seriousness of the original findings;
- Public protection;
- Risks to animal welfare if she were to be allowed to practise again;
- The length of time off the register;
- Her conduct since being removed;
- Efforts to keep up-to-date in terms of knowledge, skills and developments in practice;
- Impact of the sanction on her;
- Public support for her.
Denial and dishonesty
The committee considering her restoration application found that, while Dr. Dyson had demonstrated “some insight” into her misconduct, she had expressed remorse and admitted dishonesty.
The sitting heard that this was undermined by her continuing denial that she had been knowingly dishonest in her conduct, having attributed her actions to be in a “dissociative” state at the time.
The committee considered that Dr Dyson’s misconduct was at the “highest end” of the spectrum.
It pointed to dishonesty with multiple people on multiple occasions and then inventing a fictitious home office inspector to continue the deceit.
The committee also considered that public confidence in the profession and the RCVS, as the regulator, would be undermined were Dr. Dyson to be allowed to be restored to the register without genuinely accepting full responsibility for her actions.
The committee considered that there was no risk to the health and welfare of animals and that she had provided “ample” evidence of her efforts to keep-up to-date in terms of knowledge, skills and developments in practice should she be allowed to practise again.
Also, it considered the many positive testimonials it received from professional colleagues and clients.
Ultimately, however, the committee decided to refuse Dr Dyson’s application.
Judith Way, committee chair, said: “The profession will not be maintained if a veterinary surgeon, who has been found to have committed very serious acts of dishonesty, refuses to genuinely accept that that is the case.”
“Dr Dyson says that she accepts the original disciplinary committee’s finding that she acted dishonestly, but that acceptance carries little weight in light of what she said in her application.”
“It involves a theoretical or objective concept of dishonesty which has no bearing upon her actual state of mind at the time of the actions in question.
“By not being truly accountable for her dishonest actions, Dr Dyson has thus far been unable to demonstrate anything other than limited insight into her disgraceful conduct.”
“In such circumstances, the committee considered there would be a real and continuing risk to the reputation of the profession and to public confidence in the profession if Dr Dyson were restored to the register.
The committee was of the view that if a veterinary surgeon, who has committed such serious offences and shown so little insight, were nonetheless now allowed to practice.
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