The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has directed that the name of an Essex-based vet be removed from the RCVS Register, having found him guilty of attempting to obtain medicines dishonestly.

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has directed that the name of an Essex-based vet be removed from the RCVS Register, having found him guilty of attempting to obtain medicines dishonestly.

James Alexander Lockyear, a graduate from Pretoria University in South Africa, was charged with two offences. The case was heard in his absence, although the committee did not draw any adverse inference from this.

Essex vet removed from register for attempting to obtain medicines dishonestlyOne charge concerned his attempted purchase of steroids from a pharmacy in Colchester by dishonestly representing that the medicine was for legitimate veterinary use. The second charge related to several instances of what the committee referred to as “inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour”, including showing an offensive image to another staff member on a mobile phone, placing the testicle of a castrated dog in his mouth and the misuse of an endotracheal tube.

All incidents took place between April and September 2008, while Mr Lockyear was practising as a locum veterinary surgeon at St Runwald’s Veterinary Surgery, Colchester, Essex.

The disciplinary committee heard evidence from a pharmacist who had been presented with an incomplete veterinary prescription for 12 ampoules of Sustanon (a prescription-only anabolic steroid for humans) by Mr Lockyear, while a second pharmacist outlined his suspicions that the steroids were in fact for Mr Lockyear’s personal use. Sustanon is a substance which can potentially be misused in relation to body-building.

In finding Mr Lockyear guilty of attempting to obtain medicines dishonestly, DC chair Alison Bruce said: “Whilst it was a one-off incident, it is conduct which falls far short of that which is expected of a member of the profession. It involves serious dishonesty; it represents an abuse of a veterinary surgeon’s authority to prescribe drugs; it is conduct which tends to undermine public trust in the profession, and the honesty of its members; it is conduct which compromised other professionals, the pharmacists involved, and undermined the trust which ought to exist between pharmacists and veterinary surgeons generally, in the important area of drug prescription.”

The committee therefore directed that Mr Lockyear’s name be removed from the register.

Regarding the second charge, the committee was most concerned about the incident relating to the dog’s testicles, which it felt offended against Mr Lockyear’s duty to treat with respect all animals which were his patients. Taking the three incidents as a whole, the committee felt that Mr Lockyear should be seriously criticised for behaviour that was “unprofessional… juvenile, inappropriate, disgusting and offensive”. However, it felt that the conduct was not malicious, and did not occur in the presence of a member of the public, so concluded that this did not amount to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

Further information, including the original charges against Mr Lockyear and the committee’s findings and decision, can be found via www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary.

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