The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) veterinary nurse disciplinary committee has requested that a Doncaster-based veterinary nurse be removed from the register after she admitted falsifying a number of clinical records and holding herself out as a veterinary nurse while not being registered.
The hearing for Chelsea Jade Strangeway took place from Tuesday 20 to Wednesday 21 September to consider a total of eight charges against her.
The first five charges related to separate occasions in 2020 where Ms Strangeway falsely claimed on hospitalisation records that she had attended the practice where she was employed to monitor hospitalised animals overnight, when she had not in fact done so.
In two of the cases Ms Strangeway also recorded on the form that she had provided the prescribed medication.
The sixth charge was that between 1 January and 10 February 2020, she had held herself out and practised as a registered veterinary nurse, despite not being on the RCVS Register at the time. The remaining two charges related to the fact that her conduct as described in the previous charges was dishonest, misleading and potentially detrimental to animal welfare.
The committee found all factual allegations proven by way of the respondent’s admissions and witness evidence, which included relevant CCTV footage and alarm data.
The committee then considered whether the respondent’s conduct amounted to serious professional misconduct. In doing so the committee took account of the Code of Professional Conduct, with particular reference to the requirements for prioritising animal health and welfare, honesty, accurate clinical records, providing appropriate and adequate veterinary nursing care, and being properly registered.
The committee found that the respondent’s conduct did amount to serious professional misconduct based on her dishonesty and the fact the conduct was sustained and repeated and created a risk to animal health and welfare.
Having found serious professional misconduct proven, the committee went on to consider the most appropriate sanction for Ms Strangeway, taking into account the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors.
In terms of aggravating factors, the committee considered that there was a risk of injury to animals, the sustained nature of the misconduct, that there was actual or potential financial gain, that there was an abuse of a position of trust and responsibility, and that she had shown a wilful disregard of the RCVS and the systems regulating the veterinary nursing profession.
In mitigation, the committee considered that there had been no actual harm to animals, that admissions to the allegations had been made at an early stage, that the respondent had displayed both remorse and insight regarding her conduct, including apologising to the practice, that she was of previously good character, and that she was ordinarily a good veterinary nurse.
On deciding to remove her from the register, Ms Cerys Jones, speaking on behalf of the committee, said: “This is a case involving serious dishonesty, sustained over a period of time, and conduct potentially detrimental to animal welfare, as well as wilful disregard of professional regulations.
“Regrettably, the committee has decided that, in this case, the respondent’s misconduct is so serious that removal from the register is the only means of protecting animals and the wider public interest.”
The full details of the hearing and the Committee’s decision can be found at the website.