A Wirral veterinary surgeon has been reprimanded for failing to adequately communicate with clients in relation to the care of their dog and speaking disparagingly about other vets.

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DC vice-chair Alistair Barr said: “A formal and solemn reprimand adequately meets the needs of the public interest in, and requirements of, this particular case.” Image courtesy RCVS.

The RCVS’ disciplinary committee (DC) made its decision regarding Nigel Charles Hough after adjourning the case from May of this year.

Two separate procedures

Charges related to two separate clinical procedures on Mya, a Staffordshire bull terrier, in May 2014.

In deciding on an appropriate sanction, the DC expressed significant concerns over Mr Hough’s treatment of Mya, in particular his “failure to devise and implement proper and sufficient procedures to ensure this dog was not released to owners unless it was safe for her to be released and […] the owners were fully advised as to what was required of them.”

The DC felt Mr Hough had given “insufficient attention” to Mya’s postoperative care, but did accept the conduct represented a single incident.

The DC also heard mitigating evidence given on behalf of Mr Hough, with a number of written testimonials and witness evidence supporting his clinical expertise and surgical skills.

Apology for disparaging remarks

The DC accepted Mr Hough had taken to heart the lessons to be learned from the charges and implemented a number of written protocols to prevent recurrence of the shortcomings in his treatment of Mya. Furthermore, the DC found Mr Hough had demonstrated insight into the conduct found against him and that he had apologised for disparaging remarks made about other vets.

Alistair Barr, chairing the DC, said: “In short, the committee is persuaded Mr Hough has made a good start in putting in place systems to ensure the interests and welfare of the animals treated at his practice surgeries are not discharged from care until they are fully ready to be discharged and that the owners of such animals will, in future, be fully informed of what may be asked and required of them when their animals are returned into their care after surgery.”

He added: “There are no other areas of [Mr Hough’s] professional practices that appear to the committee to call for improvements. Accordingly, the committee is persuaded, on this evidence, there is reason to believe the lessons Mr Hough needed to learn have been learned and concludes, therefore, the sanction of a formal and solemn reprimand adequately meets the needs of the public interest in, and requirements of, this particular case.

“Mya did make a full recovery from her extensive surgery, but she and her owners deserved better post-surgery advice and support.”

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