The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons this week (January 5) directed that Judith Kay be restored to the RCVS Register, having previously struck her off for being unfit to practise.

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons this week (January 5) directed that Ms Judith Kay be restored to the RCVS Register, having previously struck her off for being unfit to practise.

Ms Kay, of Sawbridgeworth, Herts, was removed from the Register in January 2007, following her multiple convictions for drink-driving offences, driving disqualification and four-month imprisonment.

GavelShe had first applied to be restored to the Register in January 2008, but the committee had felt that Ms Kay still did not appreciate the severity of her addiction, which remained much in evidence, and rejected her application. She had also continued to practise whilst off the Register – a serious matter.

This, her second application for restoration, was first considered by the committee in July last year, when judgement was suspended pending the committee’s satisfaction with a range of third-party corroborated evidence to support Ms Kay’s progress in addressing her addiction. This included the results of random blood tests, attendance at AA meetings, regular contact with the Veterinary Surgeons Health Support Programme (VSHSP), a suitable continuing professional development (CPD) programme and mentorship from an experienced veterinary surgeon such that she would be equipped to return to practise with a proper understanding of the requirements and demands of managing a veterinary practice in current market conditions. The committee did accept at that point that Ms Kay appreciated the seriousness of the original findings.

At the resumed hearing this week, the committee was satisfied that Ms Kay had complied with the undertakings designed to ensure progress towards rehabilitation. They heard evidence in person from Ms Kay, and a fellow member of AA, as well as Mr O’Connor, national co-ordinator of the VSHSP, and saw documentary evidence which included blood test results from Ms Kay’s GP, her CPD records, a business plan for her proposed new practice and diary extracts.

In considering whether Ms Kay was now fit to resume practising as a veterinary surgeon, the committee took into account her acceptance of the findings of the original enquiry and the seriousness of those findings. It also considered the protection of the public, future animal welfare (should Ms Kay’s name be restored to the Register), the length of time which she had been off the Register, her conduct since her removal, her efforts to keep her knowledge up to date, the impact on her of having her name removed and the public support for her restoration.

Alison Bruce, chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, said: “The committee was very encouraged to note Ms Kay’s positive attitude to CPD and her realisation that she needed to make genuine efforts to experience modern practice before attempting to work alone. Her intention to work initially as a locum in a multi-vet practice strikes the committee as being a very sensible course of action.

“The committee would like to commend Ms Kay on the efforts she has made and the considerable progress that she has achieved since the adjournment. The committee is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Ms Kay is now a fit person to have her name restored to the Register of Veterinary Surgeons.”

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