The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has agreed to accept undertakings from Philippa Ann Rodale MBE, in which she requests her name is removed from the RCVS Register of Veterinary Surgeons with effect from July 31, 2015 and undertakes never to apply to be restored to it.
The committee met on Monday, August 17, resuming a hearing that had been adjourned on July 20. The adjournment had been made to allow Ms Rodale time to submit formal responses to the charges against her and indicate whether she agreed with them. In the event, as outlined by a letter from her solicitors received by the college on August 14, Ms Rodale declined to comment on the charges and did not admit to any of them.
Ms Rodale did not attend the hearing on August 17; however, the committee decided to continue in her absence, on the understanding that, as evidenced by her solicitors’ letter, she was fully aware of the hearing and had voluntarily waived her right to be presented and represented.
The original charges related to Ms Rodale’s standards of practice (in relation to issues such as biosecurity, hygiene, in-patient facilities, drug storage and the disposal of hazardous waste, among other things) and also to a test for intradermal comparative tuberculin.
The charges relating to her standards of practice did not have complainants, as the college raised the matters itself; with respect to the tuberculin test charge, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, as the relevant body, raised no objection to the proposed course of accepting undertakings.
In accepting the undertakings, the committee felt a contested hearing that could take up to seven days and involve up to eight witnesses for the college and up to three for the respondent would not be in the public interest. Furthermore, since the July 20 hearing, Ms Rodale had retired and closed her practice.
The committee also noted there had been no previous disciplinary findings against her, in what was otherwise a long and unblemished career.
Ian Green, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The committee is satisfied the undertakings offered by the respondent protect the welfare of animals since the respondent has now retired and is no longer in practice.
“It is also satisfied the reputation of the profession is upheld since the undertakings offered go beyond any sanction the committee could impose at the conclusion of a contested hearing, were any of the heads of charge to be found proved. It considers it would not be proportionate or in the public interest for there to be a lengthy contested hearing.”