A former veterinary surgeon whose name was removed from the Register in 1994 had his tenth application to be restored to the Register rejected by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disciplinary Committee recently, as they deemed that he would pose a risk to animal health and welfare if he were allowed to resume practice.
The restoration hearing for Warwick John Seymour-Hamilton was held virtually and took place on Wednesday 8 June. Mr Seymour-Hamilton was originally removed from the Register after an inspection of his Kent-based veterinary practice deemed it to be in a state that would pose a risk to animal health and welfare. The inspection found that, among other causes for concern, the Controlled Drugs Register was not properly maintained, the operating theatre was unhygienic and presented a risk of infections and there were no adequate facilities to sterilise instruments.
In deciding whether Mr Seymour-Hamilton could be restored to the Register, the Committee considered if he had understood why his previous restoration attempts had failed, if he had undertaken adequate training to bring his clinical skills and knowledge up-to-date, and if his conduct since his removal from the Register would restore the public’s confidence in his ability to carry out the duties required of a qualified veterinary surgeon.
Austin Kirwan, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee found that Mr Seymour-Hamilton was not fit to be restored to the Register. The Committee found that he still does not accept the original findings which led to his removal from the Register and, over the course of his previous applications, has shown no insight into the conduct underlying those original findings.”
Mr Seymour-Hamilton has been off the Register for 28 years and in order to meet the Day One Competences required of a practising veterinary surgeon, he would need to undertake extensive training. As he had not undertaken the required training since his removal from the Register, the Committee deemed him a risk to animal welfare and said that public confidence in the profession would be impacted if he were to be restored to the Register.
When considering Mr Seymour-Hamilton’s conduct since his removal from the Register, the Committee found that he had not demonstrated that he could be confidently restored as a Member of the RCVS. The Committee heard from the applicant that he did not intend to return to veterinary practice if restored and, instead, wanted to use his restoration to inspire confidence from drug companies in his herbal remedies. The Committee also heard that he planned to use unlicensed medicines on animals if he was restored to the Register and that he had not visited a veterinary practice since 2021, when he last applied for restoration.
Austin Kirwan added: “Admission to the Register for extraneous purposes is not permitted and a person is not entitled to apply for registration for them not to practise as a veterinary surgeon. That essentially is what Mr Seymour-Hamilton has requested. He has stated once more that he does not intend to practise as a veterinary surgeon and instead, he wishes to undertake peer-reviewed research and to deploy the fact that he is registered to better enable him to persuade others, in particular drug companies, to take his research into the efficacy of his herbal remedies seriously, which they currently have shown no inclination to do so.
“If restored to the Register, the applicant would then be free to undertake general practice in all its forms. The Committee considered that he represented a danger to the public because of his unwillingness to follow the principles of evidence-based veterinary medicine. The Committee also considers that as 28 years have passed since Mr Seymour-Hamilton has practised, there will inevitably be a serious risk to the welfare of animals if he is restored to the Register.”
The full decision and findings from the hearing can be found on the website.