LONDON, June 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has refused an application for restoration to the RCVS Register from a Kent-based former veterinary surgeon struck off in 1994 for disregarding basic hygiene at his professional premises and failing to properly maintain a Controlled Drugs Register or patient records.

In June 1994, the Committee found that Mr Warwick John Seymour-Hamilton, at that time the only veterinary surgeon practising at premises at 9 Orchard Grove, Orpington, Kent, was guilty of disgraceful professional conduct and should have his name removed from the Register. The state and condition of the premises were found to be such as to risk the health and welfare of animals taken to the premises, and bring the profession into disrepute. An application made by Mr Seymour-Hamilton for restoration made in 1995 was refused.

At a restoration hearing on 18 June 2010, Mr Seymour-Hamilton told the Committee that he sought restoration to the Register because he wished to further his research work into plants with potential medicinal properties. Restoration, he said, would improve his professional status by giving him more credibility, particularly in terms of recognition by the medical and veterinary professions.

Mr Seymour-Hamilton said that he had no intention of returning to clinical practice immediately, and neither the Committee nor the College had heard of any adverse conduct by the applicant since his removal. However, Caroline Freedman, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, noted that if Mr Seymour-Hamilton were to be restored, the Committee would have no power to prevent him from returning to general practice.

Mr Seymour-Hamilton's response to questioning by the Committee raised a number of concerns with respect to the future welfare of animals should restoration be granted. He told the Committee that he had not undertaken any relevant Continuing Professional Development in the past 15 years, and said he lacked knowledge of current relevant legislation, for example, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and basic 'Cascade' prescribing requirements. He also said that he had not read the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct in the past 15 years and that it would not be satisfactory for him immediately to return to general practice.

If the Committee were to reinstate the Applicant to the Register, it would have to be satisfied that he is competent and safe to practise immediately, said Ms Freedman. The Committee has an obligation to protect the public and animal welfare and cannot simply accept his assurances that he would take steps to rectify his self-confessed shortcomings at some point in the future.

Having taken all the evidence presented into account, the Committee was not satisfied that Mr Seymour-Hamilton was fit to be restored to the Register and dismissed his application.


1. The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.

2. RCVS disciplinary powers are exercised through the Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, established in accordance with Schedule 2 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (the 1966 Act). The RCVS has authority to deal with three types of case:

a) Fraudulent registration b) Criminal convictions c) Allegations of disgraceful professional conduct

3. The Disciplinary Committee is a constituted judicial tribunal under the 1966 Act and follows rules of evidence similar to those used in a court of law.

4. The burden of proving an allegation falls upon the RCVS, and the RCVS must prove to the standard that the Committee is sure.

5. A respondent veterinary surgeon may appeal a Disciplinary Committee decision to the Privy Council within 28 days of the date of the decision. If no appeal is received, the Committee's judgment takes effect after this period.

6. Further information, including the DC's latest findings, can be viewed via

SOURCE: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

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