A Disciplinary Committee has
issued a reprimand and warning as to future conduct to a Bolton-based
veterinary surgeon who, at a previous hearing, had admitted to a number of
clinical failings relating to his treatment of a cat.
David Henry Eccles MRCVS had
first appeared before the Disciplinary Committee in November 2018 where he
admitted a number of clinical failings, including regarding his diagnosis of
the cat, the keeping of accurate and detailed clinical records, giving the
animal appropriate treatment, surgery and care, and failing to provide the
cat’s owners with adequate information on the cat’s care upon discharge.
After Mr Eccles admitted the
two charges against him, and the Committee found him guilty of serious
professional misconduct, the Committee decided to postpone its decision on
sanction on the condition that Mr Eccles agreed to abide by a set of undertakings in the interim. These
undertakings included: the preparation of a personal development plan; the
enrolment of his practice in the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme; the
appointment of a veterinary mentor; the completion of additional training and
CPD; and his agreement to pay any costs of complying with the undertakings,
including the appointment of and work undertaken by the appointed mentor.
reconvened hearing took place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 May 2021 when the
Disciplinary Committee met to consider Mr Eccles compliance with the
undertakings he had agreed to in 2018 and the question of sanction based on the
charges he had previously admitted.
the resumed hearing, the Committee received evidence from Mr Eccles confirming
that he had complied with all the original undertakings agreed to in 2018.
It also considered some further undertakings that Mr Eccles had agreed to
in October 2020 when his reconvened hearing was postponed due to the
coronavirus pandemic. These further undertakings included: confirming his
compliance with the personal development plan he had drawn up in 2019; his
practice achieving the Core Standards accreditation level within the Practice
Standards Scheme (this was achieved in April 2021); continuing to meet with his
veterinary mentor; and undertaking additional CPD – all of which were found to
Committee also heard evidence from both the veterinary mentor and Mr Eccles
himself. In his evidence, Mr Eccles apologised to the owners of the cat for the
care he had provided, admitting that he had let them and himself down by not
knowledge to recognise the cat’s needs and to provide him with a sufficient
level of care. He also confirmed he was continuing to make improvements to his
practice and that he had enjoyed the process of being mentored.
Dr Martin Whiting,
chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “In November 2018, Mr
Eccles practice had fallen significantly short of an acceptable and adequate
standard. He was a sole practitioner who had drifted away from professional
today consider that Mr Eccles has met the undertakings which he accepted in
November 2018 and again in October 2020 when the resumed hearing was adjourned
owing to COVID-19. It accepts the College’s analysis as to how those standards
have been met. It notes that Mr Eccles’ practice has achieved accreditation in
Core Standards under the Practice Standard Scheme, something which is voluntary
in ordinary practice. That is an exacting scheme. He has engaged with his
mentor and had indicated that he will continue to do so as the need arises in
order to maintain his development.”
Dr Whiting added:
“The Committee also recognises that this was a single incident in a long
career. It accepts that he has shown insight into his shortcomings. He
understands what went wrong and why. The Committee was impressed with Mr
Eccles’ statement of apology in his oral evidence today.” “The Committee found
the language which he used in answering its questions, as to the effect
compliance with the undertakings has had upon him professionally, reassuring.
He said he had been rejuvenated and stimulated; he had renewed enthusiasm for
the profession. The Committee commends him for exceeding the minimum requirement
of the undertakings, despite the stressful context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In considering its
sanction for the original admitted charges from November 2018, the Committee
considered that a reprimand and warning as to future conduct was the most
appropriate and proportionate sanction.
The full findings for the case can be found online.