The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disciplinary Committee hearing for Stavros Paschalidis, MRCVS, took place from Monday 3 to Wednesday 12 July 2023 at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London in respect of three charges against him.
The first charge concerned the allegation that, on 7 October 2021, in relation to Beluga, a Beagle dog, Stavros Paschalidis failed to carry out any adequate examination, failed to vaccinate Beluga and made entries in the clinical records for Beluga indicating that he had examined and/or vaccinated the dog when he had not done so.
The second charge concerned the allegation that, also on 7 October 2021, in relation to Simba, a Bengal cat, Stavros Paschalidis failed to carry out any adequate examination, failed to vaccinate Simba, confirmed to a veterinary nursing colleague that he had vaccinated the cat when he had not and made entries into the clinical records for the cat indicating that he had examined and/or vaccinated Simba when he had not done so.
The third and final charge was that the conduct of Stavros Paschalidis in relation to the other two charges was dishonest and/or misleading and that he was therefore guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.
At the start of the hearing, Stavros Paschalidis admitted the charge that he had failed to examine Simba, but denied that the record was misleading or dishonest as he said he was interrupted by a colleague while making the notes, rendering them an incomplete draft.
The Committee found the charges relating to the failure to carry out an adequate examination and vaccinate Beluga and Simba proven.
The Committee also found that Stavros Paschalidis had been dishonest and misleading in relation to his clinical records for Beluga. However, it found the allegation that Stavros Paschalidis had made entries in the clinical records for Simba indicating that he had vaccinated him when he hadn’t done so and that his conduct was misleading and/or dishonest in relation to that fact not proven.
The Committee also found it not proven that Stavros Paschalidis had been dishonest in relation to making entries in the clinical records for Simba indicating that he had been examined when he had not been, instead finding that his conduct in this instance was misleading.
Having found that Stavros Paschalidis was dishonest in his recording of his examination/vaccination of Beluga and that he was dishonest in relation to his communication of vaccination of Simba to a colleague, the Committee found that his conduct amounted to conduct falling far below that to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.
On deciding the sanction, the Committee took into account eight testimonials, which were all positive about Stavros Paschalidis’ character.
The Committee also noted his continuing professional development (CPD) record, which, from February 2020 to February 2023, totalled over 170 hours.
In terms of further aggravating factors, the Committee considered the risk of injury to the animals due to not having been vaccinated or examined adequately and the breach of client trust.
They also took into account the mitigating factors that there was no evidence of actual harm to either Beluga or Simba and no evidence of any gains for Stavros Paschalidis, and that the episode on 7 October 2021, lasted no longer that one hour.
Regarding the sanction for Stavros Paschalidis, Paul Morris, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee assessed that the conduct of Mr Stavros Paschalidis, which included dishonesty, was in the upper middle range on the scale of dishonest conduct as the breaches of the Code of Professional Conduct were committed deliberately and for dishonest reasons, rather than through inadvertence or mistake.”
“The Committee decided that all of the mitigating factors, combined with an absence of any further incidents or similar behaviour having been drawn to the College’s attention, alongside the positive testimonials, led it to conclude that the risk of any repetition of similar conduct was reduced such that Mr Stavros Paschalidis no longer poses a significant risk to animals or the public.”
“The Committee considered that the misconduct found proved was sufficiently serious to require suspension from the Register, which would have a deterrent effect and would satisfy the public interest in this case.
“However, because Mr Stavros Paschalidis had continued to work as a veterinary surgeon for two years since these events without complaint and had shown some insight, the Committee decided that a lengthy suspension would not serve a useful purpose and would therefore be disproportionate.”
“The Committee therefore decided to direct that, as a deterrent, Mr Stavros Paschalidis’ registration be suspended for a period of six months.”
The full findings of the Disciplinary Committee can be found on the RCVS Disciplinary Committee hearings webpage.