A veterinary nurse has been suspended from the register for 10 months after she admitted placing five orders for prescription only medications for her own personal use and/or without an authorised prescription using the practice’s veterinary wholesaler ordering system.

The RCVS disciplinary committee (DC) heard RVN Lois Hodgkinson, while working at a practice in Woking, Surrey, ordered codeine phosphate, naproxen and amitriptyline tablets.

Chronic back pain

In three of the charges the drugs were intended for her own personal use, as she had previously been prescribed them after being involved in a serious car accident in November 2012 – as a result of which she suffered chronic back pain and other problems. In two further charges, the drugs were said to be intended for her dog Minnie.

From the outset Ms Hodgkinson admitted the charges against her, although she believed other staff at the practice had placed similar personal orders and that she had been given permission to do so as well.

Ms Hodgkinson also accepted the facts amounted to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

Mitigating factors

A number of mitigating factors were put forward in Ms Hodgkinson’s defence, including:

  • the fact a lengthy suspension period or removal from the register would result in her losing an offer of employment
  • the fact, up to the relevant conduct, she had an unblemished career
  • the fact she had made early admissions of guilt and shown insight into her misconduct

Chitra Karve, who chaired the DC, said: “It is the clear view of the committee that it would be failing in its public duty were it to do anything less than to impose a period of suspension from practice, and the least period of suspension that is appropriate in this case is one of 10 months.”

The DC’s full findings and decision are available at www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

The RCVS disciplinary committee has ended an inquiry against a Hampshire-based vet after it found no case of “serious” professional misconduct against him – despite finding the majority of charges against him proved.

8 mins

The BVA says it is “appalled” at the vote by legislators to reintroduce the tail docking of certain classes of working dogs in Scotland.

4 mins

BEVA has defended the work equine vets do to safeguard horse welfare, stating “profit must not be confused with a lack of passion”.

5 mins

The difficulties faced by practices trying to recruit experienced vets has led an increasing number to turn to new graduates. Taking on inexperienced vets can be a challenge, but when it works, the rewards to both employer and employee are substantial, says Jenny Stuart.

10 mins

Calls to introduce screening of potential vet students to improve well-being in the profession have been debunked by mental health campaigners and veterinary associations.

5 mins

The RVC has received a gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest rating a university can receive.

5 mins