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Drink driving hearing postponed after vet agrees undertakings

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has postponed its decision to sanction a Dyfed-based veterinary surgeon for six months after she voluntarily entered into undertakings.

Lynn Jo Ann Davies MRCVS appeared before the Committee on 22-23 January 2018 in respect of a number of separate charges. Two of these charges related to convictions for drink driving and the third charge related to her breaching a number of undertakings she had entered into as part of the College’s Health Protocol, including her consuming alcohol on four occasions between May 2015 and January 2016 and missing a pre-arranged appointment.

The fourth charge related to being under the influence of alcohol on three occasions while she was on duty as a veterinary surgeon in December 2016.

At the outset of the hearing Dr Davies admitted all five charges against her and that this meant she was unfit to practise veterinary surgery and that she was guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect. The Committee accepted her admissions and found, with the exception of one allegation, that her conduct was disgraceful in a professional respect.

In considering the sanction for Dr Davies, the Committee considered a number of aggravating factors including the risk of injury to animals in her care; the fact that the misconduct was sustained or repeated over a period of time; the fact that her conduct contravened the advice issued to her by the Preliminary Investigation Committee upon entering the Health Protocol; and the fact that Dr Davies was in a position of trust and responsibility during the occasions she was under the influence of alcohol in December 2016 as she was the sole veterinary surgeon on duty.

In its consideration of sanction the Committee heard a submission from counsel for Dr Davies for the decision on sanction to be postponed for six months on the basis of Dr Davies complying with nine separate undertakings, including one not to practise as a vet. In making this application Dr Davies’ counsel told the Committee that her client was remorseful over her conduct and that she had been abstinent from alcohol since August 2017 after referring herself for treatment.

The Committee decided to postpone the hearing for six months on the basis of Dr Davies’ fulfilling her undertakings. These include not to practise veterinary surgery and to remain abstinent from alcohol during the period of postponement.

Alistair Barr, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee accepted Dr Davies’ evidence and found her to have genuine remorse. Further it recognised that Dr Davies was fully committed to understanding and addressing her alcohol problem. Her efforts to avoid any repetition of misconduct were evident from the detailed undertakings which she had volunteered. 

“The Committee took into account that Dr Davies had a hitherto unblemished career prior to her alcohol problem, having qualified in 1996. Further it noted that she had not worked as a veterinary surgeon since December 2016.” 

He added: The Committee therefore decided to postpone judgement so that Dr Davies could continue to demonstrate her improved insight and her abstinence from alcohol.”

Have you ever turned up to work drunk or drank on the job? If you have a spare minute click here to fill out our anonymous survey on alcohol and the workplace.

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