Dr Sue Dyson, who was struck off by the RCVS Disciplinary Committee last year for dishonesty, has had an application for restoration to the Register refused.

Dr Dyson was removed from the Register after she was found to have fabricated a letter from a fictitious Home Office Inspector in support of a paper she had submitted to a journal, explaining why conducting her research had not required a Home Office Licence.

The original Committee made its decision on the basis that her conduct was knowingly dishonest, was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and undermine public confidence in it, and, furthermore, risked undermining the Government’s system designed to promote animal welfare and research ethics.

In considering Dr Dyson’s application for restoration, the Disciplinary Committee took into account a number of factors: her acceptance of the findings of the Committee at the original hearing; the seriousness of the original findings; public protection; risks to animal welfare if she were to be allowed to practise again; the length of time off the Register; her conduct since being removed; her efforts to keep up to date in terms of knowledge, skills and developments in practice; the impact of the sanction on her; and public support for her.

The Committee found that while Dr Dyson had demonstrated some insight into her misconduct, had expressed remorse and admitted dishonesty, it was undermined by her continuing denial that she had been knowingly dishonest in her conduct, having attributed her actions to being in a dissociative state at the time.

In terms of seriousness, the Committee considered that Dr Dyson’s misconduct was at the highest end of the spectrum, having involved being dishonest with multiple people on multiple occasions, and then inventing a fictitious Home Office Inspector to continue the deceit.

The Committee also considered that public confidence in the profession and the RCVS as the regulator would be undermined were Dr Dyson to be allowed to be restored to the Register without genuinely accepting full responsibility for her actions.

In her favour, the Committee considered that there was no risk to the health and welfare of animals and that she had provided ample evidence of her efforts to keep up to date in terms of knowledge, skills and developments in practice should she be allowed to practise again.

In addition, she had made some progress, for example she was able to show some insight by the steps she had taken to avoid finding herself in such a stressful environment in the future. The Committee also considered the many positive testimonials it received from professional colleagues and clients.

Ultimately, however, the Committee decided to refuse Dr Dyson’s application.

Judith Way, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee considered that public confidence in veterinary surgeons and the profession will not be maintained if a veterinary surgeon who has been found to have committed very serious acts of dishonesty refuses to genuinely accept that that is the case.

“Dr Dyson says that she accepts the original Disciplinary Committee’s finding that she acted dishonestly, but that acceptance carries little weight in light of what she said in her application and has said in her evidence to this Committee, because it involves a theoretical or objective concept of dishonesty which has no bearing upon her actual state of mind at the time of the actions in question.

“By not being truly accountable for her dishonest actions, Dr Dyson has thus far been unable to demonstrate anything other than limited insight into her disgraceful conduct.

“In such circumstances, the Committee considered there would be a real and continuing risk to the reputation of the profession and to public confidence in the profession if Dr Dyson were restored to the Register.

"Conduct of this kind is of a particularly egregious nature for a member of this profession and particularly so of one so eminent in her field and looked up to by so many.

"The Committee was of the view that if a veterinary surgeon, who has committed such serious offences and shown so little insight were nonetheless now allowed to practise, the public’s trust in the profession was liable to be seriously undermined.”


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