Disciplinary Committee adjourns charges against Essex vet

17 September 2013

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee yesterday [16 September 2013] agreed to adjourn multiple charges against an Essex-based veterinary surgeon who qualified in 1969, following his undertakings firstly to request removal from the RCVS Register and secondly never apply to be restored to it.

At yesterday’s hearing, which had originally been listed for seven days, Geoffrey Raymond Oliver, 68, was charged with serious professional misconduct over allegations of his inadequate treatment of two dogs and a cat (belonging to three different clients) between 2010 and 2012; inadequate record keeping; failures to deal honestly or properly with his clients; and, failure to heed advice from the RCVS Preliminary Investigation Committee about the importance of proper communication between veterinary surgeons and their clients.

However, before the Committee heard evidence on any aspect of these charges, Mr Oliver lodged his application for adjournment. The Committee therefore made no findings on the charges, and emphasised they had neither been proved against, nor admitted by, him.

The Committee noted that there had been no adverse findings against Mr Oliver during his professional career, that his practice was now closed and that he had no intention of returning to practise in the future.

Should he subsequently apply to be restored to the Register, the Committee would resume its consideration of the charges, along with his breach of the undertaking.

The Committee was advised that none of the complainants in the case – which could have incurred considerable time and costs – dissented from the proposed course of action.

Speaking on behalf of the Disciplinary Committee, its Chairman, Professor Peter Lees, said: “The Committee has concluded that no useful purpose would be served were it to insist on a full hearing [and it] would be a disproportionate waste of…resources [to do so].

"The Committee is satisfied that [granting the adjournment application] protects the welfare of animals and…is in the public interest.”

The Committee then accepted Mr Oliver’s undertakings, including the removal of his name from the Register with immediate effect.

“So that he is in no doubt about the matter, the Committee reminds [Mr Oliver] that, when referring clients of his former practice elsewhere, he should be careful to avoid giving them any advice about the diagnosis or treatment of their animals,” said Professor Lees.

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