RCVS: Concerned About Panorama Allegations and Will Investigate

By Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons, PRNE
Thursday, July 22, 2010

LONDON, July 23, 2010 - We are concerned about allegations raised by last night's Panorama
programme, and would like to reassure the public that we will investigate the
claims made, says veterinary regulatory body, the Royal College of Veterinary
Surgeons, commenting on 'It Shouldn't Happen at a Vet's' (BBC 1, 9pm 22

"It would be impossible to watch such a programme and not feel concern
for the animals featured or sympathy towards their owners, and indeed any
member of the public or profession who may have been distressed by what they
have seen," says RCVS President Peter Jinman.

The programme has been in the pipeline for some time. The College first
met with Panorama over a year ago but, as has been acknowledged in the
programme, last night's airing was our first opportunity to see it. However,
one of the veterinary surgeons featured in the programme - Kfir Segev - was
under RCVS investigation well before the Panorama interest began. He has
since been 'struck off' the RCVS Register for the fraudulent recommendation
of unnecessary treatments, meaning he is no longer able to practise as a
veterinary surgeon.

"The veterinary profession has a robust regulatory system and allegations
have been made which deserve full investigation," says Mr Jinman. "The BBC
has given assurances that they will provide us with the information we need
and we will immediately ask for their co-operation. It would be inappropriate
to prejudge the outcome of our investigations by commenting on any specific
aspects of the programme at this stage."

The programme covered many issues, with allegations ranging from
inappropriate delegation to unqualified staff members, through to fraud. The
RCVS regulates veterinary surgeons and considers charges of serious
professional misconduct, which might include, and have in fact included,
inappropriate delegation to support staff, such as veterinary nursing

We have also developed non-statutory systems for the regulation of
registered veterinary nurses and the maintenance of practice standards.

Some of the allegations made in the programme were of serious offences
and the BBC ought to pass details of those to the relevant authorities, such
as the police or Trading Standards. The RCVS has a good track record of
working with such authorities.

What can you do? While we understand that the majority of animal owners
have great confidence in their veterinary surgeon, where there are concerns,
we would encourage people to contact the RCVS.

Any veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse who witnesses behaviour that
they believe falls below the high standards expected of the profession is
encouraged to report this to us. A number of complaints received by the
College each year are from veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and other
members of practice staff.

"We appreciate that 'whistleblowing' may not be an easy choice, but
belonging to a profession brings responsibilities as well as rights, and it
is up to every member to ensure that high educational, ethical and clinical
standards are maintained," says Mr Jinman.

Guidance on whistleblowing is available on RCVSonline and further sources
of support are available at www.vetlife.org.uk.

    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.

For more information please contact:

Ian Holloway, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons +44(0)20-7202-0783 /

For more information please contact: Ian Holloway, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons +44(0)20-7202-0783 / i.holloway at rcvs.org.uk

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