Government & LegislationVeterinary

Disciplinary committee suspends Republic of Ireland-based vet from register

The disciplinary committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has suspended a Republic of Ireland-based veterinary surgeon from the register for a period of two years after he was convicted of 34 charges related to prescribing veterinary medicines.

Gary Adams was convicted at Gorey District Court, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland in March 2015 for:

  • Nine offences of prescribing animal remedies to animals not under his care;
  • Five offences of forging entries in official animal remedies records owned by farmers to suggest he had made visits to farms when he had not;
  • Seven offences of dispensing a prescription-only animal remedy but not preparing a veterinary prescription containing the details of the animals;
  • Two offences of failing to affix labels in the required form to prescription-only items when selling or supplying animal remedies;
  • Six offences of failing to annotate the dispensed prescriptions with the word ‘dispensed’ and failing to sign and date them;
  • Three offences of failing to keep a record or purchases and sales (including quantities administered) in respect of each incoming and outgoing transaction; and
  • Two offences of selling animal remedies on a wholesale basis without an animal wholesaler’s licence.

The charges related to treatment of animals not under his care throughout 2012 and 2013 which were investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in the Republic of Ireland.

In relation to these convictions Mr Adams received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, was fined a total of €40,000 (£35,156) and ordered to pay costs of €16,400 (£14,414).

Following his conviction his conduct was considered by the Veterinary Council of Ireland’s (VCI) Fitness to Practice Committee and, in September 2017, the VCI a sanction of 12 months’ suspension from its register. This sanction was upheld by the High Court in the Republic of Ireland in November 2017.

As well as being a registered veterinary surgeon in the Republic of Ireland, Mr Adams was also on the UK-practising Register with the RCVS, so his convictions were considered under the College’s own complaints and disciplinary process.

On Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June, Adams admitted the charges and was therefore rendered unfit to practise.

Professor Alistair Barr, chairing the committee, said: “The committee found the conduct to be at the serious end of the spectrum for such misconduct, it being systematic, prolonged and illegal conduct relating to the supply of animal remedies which posed a significant risk to human and animal health.

“Accordingly, the committee found that the convictions which led to these charges cumulatively render Mr Adams unfit to practise.”

The disciplinary committee took into account the fact that he had been practising since 1993 and had no previous disciplinary findings, had made open admissions at all stages to the college. It also considered that Adams had practised between April 2013, when the matters first came to light, and February 2018, when he was suspended by the Veterinary Council of Ireland, without incident.

Adams has 28 days from being informed about the disciplinary committee’s decision to make an appeal to the privy council.

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