I too was not surprised that the vets got away with a friendly chat with their in-house masters, but what does surprise me is their hypocrisy according to their own Rules and Regs.
This is from their web-site http://www.rcvs.org.uk/vet_surgeons/professionalconduct/response/ten.html
I will just highlight the points in RED I think these last two disciplinary hearings have turned their backs on. Other readers will probably have the whole 10 principles in RED and a few RED chunks from the Responsibilities to Clients list, not to mention the Euthanasia section !
Responsibilities: The Ten Guiding Principles
Your clients are entitled to expect that you will: -
- make animal welfare your first consideration in seeking to provide the most appropriate attention for animals committed to your care
- ensure that all animals under your care are treated humanely and with respect
- maintain and continue to develop your professional knowledge and skills
- foster and maintain a good relationship with your clients, earning their trust, respecting their views and protecting client confidentiality
- uphold the good reputation of the veterinary profession
- ensure the integrity of veterinary certification
- foster and endeavour to maintain good relationships with your professional colleagues
- understand and comply with your legal obligations in relation to the prescription, safe-keeping and supply of veterinary medicinal products
- familiarise yourself with and observe the relevant legislation in relation to veterinary surgeons as individual members of the profession, employers, employees and business owners
- respond promptly, fully and courteously to complaints and criticism.
Responsibilities: Your responsibilities to your clients
(Your client in this context is the person who requests your professional services for an animal)
- The provision of veterinary services creates a contractual relationship under which veterinary surgeons should:
a. ensure that clear information is provided about practice arrangements and on how to obtain out of hours attention
b. take all reasonable care in using their professional skills to treat patients
c. keep their skills and knowledge up to date
d. keep within their own areas of competence save for the requirement to provide emergency first aid
e. maintain clear, accurate and comprehensive case records and accounts
f. ensure that a range of reasonable treatment options are offered and explained, including prognoses and possible side effects
g. give realistic fee estimates based on treatment options
h. keep the client informed of progress, and of any escalation in costs once treatment has started
i. obtain the client's informed consent to treatment unless delay would adversely affect the animal's welfare (Re. Annex Specimen Consent Forms)
j. ensure that all staff are properly trained and supervised where appropriate
k. ensure that the client is made aware of any procedures to be performed by support staff who are not veterinary surgeons (Re. Part 2 Section F; Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons)
l. recognise that the client has freedom of choice.
- The professional/client relationship is one of mutual trust and respect, under which a veterinary surgeon must:
a. maintain client confidentiality
b. treat the client with respect, and observe professional courtesies
c. avoid conflicts of interest
d. give due consideration to the client's concerns and wishes where these do not conflict with the patient's welfare
e. provide fully itemised accounts if requested.
- Veterinary surgeons must ensure that all their professional activities are covered by professional indemnity insurance or equivalent arrangements. Such cover may be held individually or through an employer.
Maintaining Practice Standards: Euthanasia: Euthanasia Without the Owner's Consent
1. The Protection of Animals Act 1911 (Section 1), The Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 and The Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 1972 provide that failure to destroy an animal to prevent further suffering may amount to cruelty(what the hell, slaughtering a HEALTHY animal amounts to, Christ knows !). The duty to destroy falls most heavily on the veterinary surgeon who has the skill and training to make the correct assessment. In these circumstances he/she acts as an agent of necessity, and should make a full record of all the circumstances supporting the decision in case of subsequent challenge.
2. The Acts give statutory powers to a police constable enabling him to order the destruction of a bovine animal, horse, mule, ass, sheep, goat or pig whose condition, in the opinion of a veterinary surgeon, is so severe that it cannot be moved and that it would be cruel to keep it alive. In these circumstances the veterinary surgeon should ask for a written and signed instruction to destroy from the officer in charge, including his identity number and the log number of the incident at a given police station.
3. Where the veterinary surgeon is asked to destroy an animal injured in a sporting event, the opinion of a professional colleague, if available, should be sought before doing so. Veterinary surgeons officiating at sporting events should consider:
a. whether the owner will be present and able to consent to euthanasia if necessary
b. whether the owner has delegated authority to another to make that decision in their absence and
c. whether if damages were sought for alleged wrongful destruction they would have adequate professional indemnity insurance cover. (Ref: Jockey Club Instruction J17 and FEI Article 1009.15)
I know Para 3(c) is unrelated to FMD, but it highlights the awesome gap in the law where the illegal "contiguous cull" and the false Form A procedures should have had the vets by the short and curlies !