RCVS orders removal of vet amid ‘alcohol-related issues’ and ‘serious clinical failings’

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has ordered the registrar to remove a Great Yarmouth vet from the college following “alcohol-related issues”, “serious clinical failings”, and after she made disparaging comments about other vets.

Judith Kay, failed to attend the hearing in person despite being given “significant prior notice”.

The committee heard from Kelly Lawson, a colleague of Kay who said on 14 September 2016 was “found asleep in the car with an open can of alcohol by her feet”. Several other colleagues of Kay provided further evidence that she was working under the influence of alcohol.

Several other witnesses also provided evidence that Kay “appeared to need more assistance than expected, was overly friendly in speaking to clients [and] was unable to prepare a syringe correctly”.

The college had ordered Kay to “completely abstain from alcohol”, however when a sample was taken on 3 August 2017 it was found that she had been consuming alcohol in the recent past.

Kay was charged with clinical failings relating to relating to surgery on a Cocker Spaniel that included failing to “obtain informed consent for surgery”, performing surgery in her own home where it was “not possible to ensure sterility” and failing to provide suitable “post-operative analgesia”.

Another dog owned by the same person also suffered from Kay’s clinical failings with the RCVS saying Kay “euthanased Alfie [the other dog] in an inappropriate manner”.

Kay was also found to have made disparaging remarks to a dog owner regarding other vets at the surgery who had treated her dogs, and to have “sent inappropriate texts and voicemail messages” to the dog owner relating to payment for surgery and the treatment of her dogs.

The committee found that Kay’s conduct had “fallen far short of the standard expected of a member of the veterinary profession” and concluded that her conduct amounted to “disgraceful conduct in a professional respect”.

Alistair Barr, chair of the committee said: “The committee considered that the only appropriate sanction is that of removal from the Register. Such a sanction is required to protect animals and to send a clear message to the Respondent, and to all veterinary surgeons, of the unacceptability of the conduct identified in this case.

“Such conduct undermines public confidence in the profession and fails to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour. Accordingly, the Committee has decided that removal from the Register is the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case.”

Kay has 28 days from being informed about the disciplinary committee’s decision to make an appeal to the Privy Council.

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