A vet has been banned from working for three months for not being registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Silke Birgitt Lindridge, of the Consett Veterinary Centre, in County Durham, was found guilty of practising when she should not have been as her name had been removed from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) register for non-payment of fees.
Mrs Lindridge, who qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Berlin in 1997, returned to her native Germany while on maternity leave in September 2006.
But she continued to run the practice in Consett, and another, the Winlaton Veterinary Centre in Tyne and Wear, while in Germany.
She returned to the UK several times during 2007 and practised as a vet on small animals and horses, although she had not been registered between 5 June 2006 and 2 April 2008, the RCVS disciplinary committee was told.
Mrs Lindridge claimed to be unaware that she was unregistered, saying a fee notice and reminder, as well as phone calls and correspondence from the college about her registration status, had not been brought to her attention by her practice administrators.
The committee accepted this, but decided that, as registration was a professional obligation, she should have known that her name had been removed from the register, which she accepted.
Taking this, and the support of her clients into account, the committee concluded on 9 September that a three-month suspension was appropriate.
Chairwoman Beverley Cottrell said: “The committee would like to make it clear that it is the personal responsibility of every practising veterinary surgeon to ensure that the annual retention fee is paid and that their names are on the Register.
“It is in the public interest that clients should be assured that the practitioner is a regulated person, who is capable of providing valid certificates.”
She added: “The record of Mrs Lindridge’s practice during 2007 discloses that she was providing certificates for horses and small animals whilst she was unregistered. Those certificates are invalid.”