LONDON, May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has on Tuesday (17 May) reprimanded and warned as to her future conduct, a Clwyd-based veterinary surgeon on charges relating to falsifying prescriptions to obtain drugs for her own use.
At the outset of the two-day hearing, Mrs Alina Grecko admitted that in 2009 she had written out three prescriptions for her own use whilst working as a veterinary surgeon at Greenfield Veterinary Surgery, Holywell, Clywd, and that this amounted to serious professional misconduct. The Committee found this to be the case, and said she was right to admit it. The Committee also said this was deliberate wrong-doing on three separate occasions and involved an obvious breach of Mrs Grecko's legal duties in relation to prescription which was bound to diminish the profession and public confidence in it. It was also a flagrant breach of the Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons.
In the Committee's opinion the charge was a serious one; it involved falsehoods and disregard of legal obligations and of the profession's standards, as well as compromising another professional - a pharmacist. In mitigation, however, the Committee accepted that the offence involved no harm to any animal or person, nor risk of harm except to herself; nor was there financial gain. Mrs Grecko was a young and relatively inexperienced veterinary surgeon, and the Committee's view was that the offence was the result of her not thinking straight at a time of great stress in her personal and professional life, rather than a clearly thought out course of deliberate conduct. It was in no doubt that Mrs Grecko was genuinely remorseful about her behaviour and had insight into its seriousness.
The Committee also considered evidence relating to the circumstances in which the prescription came to be written. It accepted the general case that the original idea of self-prescribing did not come from Mrs Grecko; however, the Committee did not find that she had been encouraged or persuaded; the most that could be said was that Mrs Grecko had taken up a casual suggestion that she might write the prescription herself.
When deciding on sanction, the Committee took into account both the facts of the particular case and the mitigating factors. It reiterated that the primary purpose of the sanction is not to punish the Respondent but to protect the welfare of animals, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to uphold proper standards of conduct and said the sanction applied must be proportionate to the nature and extent of the Respondent's conduct, and weigh the public interest with the interests of the Respondent. The Committee also said that in a case involving the writing of false prescriptions the importance of public confidence in the profession and of upholding the standards of the profession mean that the Committee would normally feel that at least a suspension from the Register should be imposed.
Having given anxious consideration to the question whether that course could properly be avoided in this case, the Committee felt able to take an exceptional course and the sanctions it has imposed are that the Respondent will both be reprimanded and warned as to her future conduct. It directed that these sanctions will remain on her record indefinitely.
For more information please contact:
Claire Millington, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 020 7202 0783 / firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.
2. RCVS disciplinary powers are exercised through the Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, established in accordance with Schedule 2 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (the 1966 Act). The RCVS has authority to deal with three types of case:
a) Fraudulent registration
b) Criminal convictions
c) Allegations of disgraceful professional conduct
3. The Disciplinary Committee is a constituted judicial tribunal under the 1966 Act and follows rules of evidence similar to those used in a court of law.
4. The burden of proving an allegation falls upon the RCVS, and the RCVS must prove to the standard that the Committee is sure.
5. A respondent veterinary surgeon may appeal a Disciplinary Committee decision to the Privy Council within 28 days of the date of the decision. If no appeal is received, the Committee's judgment takes effect after this period.
6. Further information, including the charges against Mrs Albring and the Committee's findings and decision on sanction, can be found at http://www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary.
Contacts: Claire Millington, RCVS, Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2AF. Tel: +44(0)20-7202-0783 Fax: +44(0)20-7202-0740 email@example.com
SOURCE Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons