RCVS News: Disciplinary Committee Reprimands Clwyd Veterinary Surgeon

By Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons, PRNE
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LONDON, May 19, 2011 - 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 /


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

6. Further information, including the charges against Mrs Albring and the
Committee's findings and decision on sanction, can be found at

    Claire Millington,
    Belgravia House,
    62-64 Horseferry Road,
    SW1P 2AF.
    Tel: +44(0)20-7202-0783
    Fax: +44(0)20-7202-0740


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