The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has struck off the Register a
veterinary surgeon who delayed attending a dog that had been run over at a
farm, causing her to suffer unnecessarily.
Following a two-day hearing, the Disciplinary Committee
found Munhuwepasi Chikosi guilty of unreasonably delaying attending Mitzi, a fourteen-and-a-half-year-old
Labrador cross, and of unnecessarily causing her to remain in pain and
suffering for at least an hour.
On 9 September 2011, Mr Chikosi had been
working as a locum veterinary surgeon at the Vets Now out-of-hours emergency
service in Barton-le-Clay, Bedford, when Mitzi's owner telephoned him to say
that his dog was severely injured and to request a home visit for the purpose
At Mr Chikosi's request, the owner attempted to bring
Mitzi into the practice using a blanket. However, it was not possible to get
Mitzi into a Land Rover, and she uncharacteristically bit the owner's son, so
her owner called the practice again.
Mr Chikosi repeated the request to bring
the dog in, saying that he was unable to leave the practice because he was
looking after other animals, but that he could possibly organise another
veterinary surgeon to visit "probably within the next hour or two".
The Committee considered Mr Chikosi's actions in context
of the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2011, which listed a number of
factors for veterinary surgeons to consider when deciding whether to attend an
animal away from the practice premises.
These included the likely treatment
needed, the possibility of the animal being safely conveyed to the veterinary
surgery, the health status of the animal and ability of the owner to manage the
animal's pain until veterinary attention could be sought during normal hours,
and travelling time for the veterinary surgeon.
However, the Committee found Mr Chikosi had made no
enquiries to determine whether Mitzi was in a fit condition to be moved, and
offered no advice as to how her condition could be alleviated whilst waiting
for the home visit. Further, his advice that Mitzi should be moved on a blanket
was wrong, as she may have had an injured back.
The Committee concluded that,
from the outset, Mr Chikosi took the stance that he was unable to leave the
practice because he was the only veterinary surgeon present.
Committee noted, from the information available, that there were only three
in-patients, no critical cases and a qualified veterinary nurse was present.
The Committee found there was no good reason why he should not have attended
the farm, which was only 10 to 15 minutes' drive away.
The Committee said that, by the time Mitzi's owner called
a second time, it was clear that the out-of-hours service was experiencing
difficulty finding a second veterinary surgeon but, instead of going to the
farm himself, Mr Chikosi waited another hour until the second veterinary
surgeon arrived at the out-of-hours service.
Professor Peter Lees, chairing and
speaking on behalf of the Committee said: "The Committee is satisfied that the delay caused
Mitzi unnecessary suffering, which was evidenced by her uncharacteristically
biting [her owner's] son. [Her owner] had recognised the
severity of the injuries and the need for euthanasia as soon as was
practicable. [Mr Chikosi's] failure to attend a seriously injured dog promptly
in the circumstances described falls far short of the conduct to be expected of
a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon."
He directed that Mr Chikosi's name be struck off the
The BBC has broadcast an investigation in which the RSPCA is accused of various acts of inappropriate and uncharitable behaviour towards a veterinary surgeon, a barrister, an aged pet owner and the owners of an animal sanctuary.
The accusations were broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Face the Facts, and included:
Responding to the accusations, RSPCA's Chief Executive Gavin Grant sounded by turns arrogant and defiant, dismissing accusations of harassment of vets and barristers as 'a nonsense' and saying that the idea that the police/CPS should take over prosecutions (as happens in Scotland) is 'fanciful'. When the interviewer suggested that the charity was losing its reputation as a 'helpful' organisation and becoming known as 'heavy-handed', Mr Grant seemed unapologetic, deflecting the question by talking about the values of those that founded the charity.
The Veterinary Record has published new research which shows that one in seven vets is likely to be burnt-out within 10 years of qualifying.
The study was conducted by a team of Dutch researchers led by Nicole Mastenbroek (pictured right) from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University.
They noted that veterinary surgeons' psychological wellbeing has been the subject of several studies in different countries in recent years, with some evidence suggesting that male vets are less prone to distress, anxiety, and depression. They wanted to gauge the level of burn-out and engagement with work among vets that had graduated within the past decade, and to assess whether gender or years since graduation are influential factors.
The researchers say they based their approach on the job demands-resources (JD-R) questionnaire, which balances out negative (burn-out) and positive (engagement) aspects of wellbeing associated with work. However, they tailored it specifically for veterinary surgeons, on the grounds that every profession has unique risk factors for burn-out.
The questionnaire was emailed to 1,790 vets who had qualified in The Netherlands between 1999 and 2009, with the final analysis based on the responses of 860, almost three quarters (73%) of whom were women.
Levels of exhaustion and cynicism - both of which are associated with burn-out - were significantly lower than those in a random sample of the Dutch working population. But so too was the level of work engagement.
The responses showed that one in seven respondents (14%) was burnt-out within 10 years of qualifying.
The researchers say that if the criteria for burn-out that are normally used for the Dutch workforce are applied, then the responses would indicate that 27% of the survey respondents were burnt-out.
Women also seemed to reach burn-out faster. Almost one in five (18%) of the female respondents was burnt-out within five years of graduating.
Male vets tended to be less exhausted and more engaged with work than their female peers. Job demands associated with exhaustion were work/home life balance and workload, while job resources linked to engagement included opportunities for professional development and "skills discretion" - the ability to use and develop skills on the job.
Researchers says that behavioural traits explained more of the variance in levels of work engagement between male and female vets than in levels of exhaustion.
Self-belief in one's abilities (self-efficacy) and a proactive stance are linked to work engagement in the JD-R approach. But women vets rated themselves as less effective, optimistic, proactive and assertive than did their male peers.
British Veterinary Association President Robin Hargreaves said: "These findings are worrying but sadly not surprising. We know that a burn out and other manifestations of poor mental wellbeing in veterinary professionals of both sexes are a well-recognised problem in the UK and they are a constant concern to BVA.
"The suggestion of an increased susceptibility to burn out amongst female vets adds to that concern with the increasing proportion of women in the profession."
Vets4Pets has announced that it is piloting a 'revolutionary'
new 24/7 service at its practices in Rayleigh in Essex, Rustington in
Sussex and Bournemouth in Dorset.
The company says that clients of the new 24/7 clinics will be able to
have their pets seen and treated at any time by the same team, with the
same level of service and at the same price as daytime treatment.
Research carried out by Vets4Pets showed that pet owners struggle to
fit visits into their busy working lives, so the 24 hour practices will
offer consultations up to 10:00pm and allow clients to drop pets off
early in the morning, before traditional practices open.
In addition, the 24/7 clinics will see emergency and
routine cases around the clock at no extra cost and will provide care
for pets that need to be hospitalised overnight. Vets4Pets says that the
practices are equipped with in-house surgical facilities, lab,
pharmacy, digital x-ray and ultrasound, and will have a veterinary
surgeon and nurse on-site at all times, so its clients will get the
highest standard of care.
Clients of other practices within the group will also be
able to use these facilities if their own vet feels their pet would
benefit from overnight care and is within driving distance of a 24/7
Kirsty Bridger MRCVS, Joint Venture Partner at Rayleigh
Vets4Pets said: “We have been telling our clients about 24/7 for the
last few weeks and we have only received positive responses. The
perceived increase level of service has been so well received and
customers are delighted that we will be offering out of hours services
with no extra charge. This is about listening to what our clients need
and providing them with more convenience and excellent service however
and whenever we can.”
Sally Hopson, CEO of the Vet Group said: “All of us at
Vets4Pets are focused on leading innovation in the veterinary sector,
and as our clients live increasingly busy lives, these 24/7 pilot
practices are our way of helping them manage their hectic schedules,
while also ensuring that pets in need of urgent treatment can be seen at
any time. We are very excited about the potential of our 24/7 practices
and our ability to offer customers extended quality, service and
convenience of veterinary care.”
VetSurgeon.org asked Vets4Pets some questions about the new 24/7 practices:
VetSurgeon: Is V4P going to offer an OOH referral service to other practices?V4P:
As this is a pilot, initially Rayleigh will only be offering this
service to other practices within the VetGroup. However, once we
understand more about how the model works, we may open the service to
other practices, particularly in areas where there are few or no other
options for them to outsource OOH cover.
VetSurgeon: How is V4P able to offer OOH consultations at the same price as daytime consults?V4P:
At Vets4Pets we care about offering our clients the best service we
can. We believe that it's important that clients can access veterinary
care at all times of the day or night without prohibitive surcharges.
The 24/7 business model is built around this concept. This is clearly a
significant change from the traditional way of thinking about out of
hours care within the industry and we think clients and their pets will
VetSurgeon: How will it affect the quality of life of the vets & nurses working at the practices?V4P:
We have thought carefully about the rotas that the vets and nurses will
be working. We've looked at best practice within the veterinary
industry and in other industries which work around the clock and we have
developed guidelines based on these benchmarks which will then be
flexed depending on the requirements of each individual team.
VetSurgeon: Does V4P think others will follow?V4P:
We hope this is something that will expand across our own group once
we've completed the initial pilot phase. We believe it's the right thing
to do for our clients and for their pets. This is a new way of thinking
about out of hours care and we're lucky to be able to work with forward
thinking Joint Venture Partners who are putting their clients at the
centre of their thinking. If others follow the model, that can only be a
good thing for pet owners and for pets.
VetSurgeon: Does this threaten Vets Now?V4P:
We work with Vets Now in many of our practices and we hope to continue
to have a positive working relationship in the future. VetsNow have a
different and well established business model. Our objective is simply
to offer our clients and their pets the best levels of care that we can
by being able to provide them with the same level of service at the same
price at any time of day or night.
Dorset-based homeopathic practitioner Philippa Rodale, who requested that her name be removed from the RCVS Register in July, has been convicted of cruelty at Weymouth Magistrates Court.
The case related to Mrs Rodale's treatment of a female foxhound called 'Dangerous', which had been brought to her after being hit by a car.
The dog was reported to the RSPCA by a member of the public who was alarmed after seeing the dog lying in the surgery, whining and dragging her back legs. The court heard that at this point, Dangerous had already been in the care of the clinic for 10 days, during which time Mrs Rodale had administered both homeopathic and conventional treatment, but had failed either to x-ray the animal or give adequate pain relief. In addition, the court heard hygiene and nursing care standards were poor.
RSPCA inspector Marie Griffiths said: "When I found Dangerous she was just lying on a tiled floor with no bedding and only a towel propping up her head, paralysed, and covered in infected pressure sores. She couldn’t even stand up.
"It was a shocking sight and definitely not something that I would ever expect to see anywhere, let alone in a veterinary practice.
"She was clearly in agony and had just not received the level of care and attention that you would expect from a vet. She was suffering so much that sadly a decision had to be made by another veterinary surgeon to do the kind thing and finally put her to sleep.
"The RSPCA exists to protect animals from cruelty and suffering and to defend them when their needs are not being met and we hope that this case goes some way to showing that no-one is exempt from providing animals with the duty of care that they deserve - not only morally, but because it is also the law.”
Mrs Rodale was ordered to pay £4,000 in costs to the RSPCA as well as £520 in court charges and a £15 victim surcharge.
Do you think the RCVS should issue a public statement about homeopathy, and require that veterinary surgeons inform owners about the scientific evidence which demonstrates it is ineffective? If so, visit The Campaign For Rational Veterinary Medicine, and sign the petition.
Danny Chambers MRCVS had a disappointing night after seeing the Liberal Democrat share of the vote in North Cornwall decrease by 5.8%, leaving him trailing 14,752 votes behind the Conservative candidate Scott Mann who scored 30,671.
Meanwhile Ian Fleming MRCVS, who stood as an independent candidate for the Halesowen and Rowley Regis constituency, got 190 votes. The winning Conservative candidate, James Morris, gained 25,607 votes.
Many people will no doubt feel that the overall Conservative majority of 80 seats is a disastrous result; people who simply cannot bear Boris and fear what he'll do with a majority; people who saw a land of milk and honey and free broadband and publicly-owned railways that run on time and an A&E waiting time of less than 30 seconds and guillotines for the rich, only to have their hopes dashed. They must be gutted.
Equally it can be argued that this is the best possible result for the country. A decisive vote. Now, finally, we can all move on from 3 years of interminable debate about whether we're staying or going or having another referendum or cancelling the whole thing and going down the pub instead. Now the government can concentrate on implementing brexit. Perhaps the country can at last unite around that purpose.
Boris may not prove the disaster that some people think. He's not hard right. Quite the reverse. And having won all those safe Labour seats, he'll have to deliver for them. He has a good sense of humour ("Let's get breakfast done."), but that does not make him a fool or a charlatan. On the contrary, wit requires brainpower. And as for the accusations of being a liar, perhaps people will come to understand that flowery use of language does not itself make someone dishonest. Perhaps people will learn to stop interpreting his words so literally.
Time will tell, but there is cause for optimism this morning. Whichever side of the fence you sit, we must all be glad of one thing ... no more arguing about whether or not we're leaving.
The range includes a water additive which received a Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approval after being shown to deliver a reduction in calculus of at least 20% in two studies¹.
The other products in the range are a gum spray and a malt flavoured toothpaste.
Animalcare says each has been designed to support owner compliance through ease of use and accompanying educational materials.
The company has also launched a website for veterinary professionals and pet owners: https://dental.pet.
For owners, the site has information on the importance of dental health in pets and advice on establishing a dental care regime.
For veterinary professionals, resources include 'talk tracks' to start discussions with clients about dental care and tools to help them recognise signs of dental pain.
Animalcare Product Manager Eleanor Workman Wright said: “Despite research showing that at least 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are likely to develop periodontal disease by the age of three², dental care is still often neglected.
"While tooth-brushing is cited as the gold standard, it has to be used daily to achieve a significant degree of efficacy.
"This is often just not possible in the ‘real world’ and a more flexible approach can be helpful, with products such as water additives and gum sprays offering a practical, less time-consuming solution in some circumstances."
“Products should be grounded in science which is why we are delighted that the Plaqtiv+ Water Additive has just become the first European product of its type to earn approval from the VOHC.”
Urging vets to 'get off their backsides and respond to a VMD consultation' on the introduction of a new POM-EA category (Vet Times, 19th October) is premature.
Contrary to the report, the VMD has not yet launched a formal consultation.
Jo Cawthorne from the VMD said: "In fact, we've only launched an informal consultation on a concept note amongst a small group of key stakeholders from the RCVS, BVA, RPSGB, AMTRA, AHDA and NOAH, in order to decide whether this is a viable idea and merits a formal consultation."
She added: "There is no need for vets to respond to a consultation which doesn't yet exist. If there is a formal consultation, it will be announced formally on our website and everyone will be given the opportunity to respond."
A wild golden eagle, one of only 442 breeding pairs, has died after being confiscated from a falconry expert who was nursing the animal back to health, and placed in the care of the RSPCA instead.
Roy Lupton, a falconer from Kent, saved the eagle in November last year, after it sustained injuries fighting a friend's bird. According to newspaper reports, Mr Lupton was given permission by the Scottish Executive to take the bird back to his premises in Kent to nurse it back to health. He planned to release the bird in the spring and claims he told Defra of his plans. Nevertheless, on May 5th, his premises were raided by Kent police, a Defra official and an official from the RSPB.
Despite his protests, the bird was seized and taken to the RSPCA's Mallydam wildlife centre in Sussex. Mr Lupton was questioned by police and the case passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. It was later dropped.
Meanwhile, Mr Lupton was allowed to visit the bird at the wildlife centre. He said: "I was horrified by what I saw. The RSPCA was keeping the bird on a concrete floor, which is bad for its talons, and there was leaf mould on the roof of the room, which can cause lung infections in golden eagles."
Mr Lupton was later allowed to take the animal home. However, its condition had deteriorated badly, and on June 17th he took the animal to see avian vet Neil Forbes. Sadly, nothing could be done, and the animal died hours later.
In his autopsy report, Neil said that the bird was kept in inappropriate conditions while in the care of the RSPCA and was "not provided with good practice in terms of husbandry". He added: "Whilst I cannot be certain the bird’s death was a direct result of the Defra seizure and the period of RSPCA care, certainly the stress effect (suppressing the immune system), the persistent systemic infection from the time of leaving the RSPCA care, does indicate a very high likelihood of a causative link between the period of care and the bird’s subsequent death."
Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons last week directed that the name of a man who had been illegally
practising as a veterinary surgeon in the North West of England be removed from
the RCVS Register, having found him guilty of fraudulent registration.
March 2008, Russell Lewis Oakes had been charged with fraudulent entry onto the
Register of Veterinary Surgeons, on the basis that he had (either (A)
knowingly, or (B) unknowingly) submitted a fake degree certificate and letter
of 'good standing' from Murdoch University, Australia. Mr Oakes agreed that the
hearing could proceed in his absence provided the Committee confined itself to
consideration of charge B alone.
hearing commenced on 18 April 2008, but the Committee decided to adjourn, as Mr
Oakes was also subject to a police investigation which required that the
hearing be held in private. The Committee felt that it was in the public
interest for an open hearing to take place in respect of both charges at a
later date. Mr Oakes' bail conditions prevented him from practising as a
veterinary surgeon at this time.
16 October 2009, Mr Oakes was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court, on a guilty
plea, of a substantial number of offences, including those under consideration
by the Committee: he was sentenced on 11 January 2010 to two years in prison.
RCVS Disciplinary Committee's hearing resumed and concluded on 5 February 2010.
Mr Oakes was not present.
Committee was provided with evidence from RCVS staff regarding the registration
process, and received statutory declarations from representatives at Murdoch University. The latter confirmed that
signatures on the certificate submitted by Mr Oakes were fake and that there
had never been a student with his name at the University. Furthermore, a letter
purporting to be one of support from Professor Edwards of Murdoch University
contained text he would not have written and was signed with a false signature.
Committee was also provided with evidence from equine veterinary surgeon Seamus
Miller, who had become suspicious of Mr Oakes' qualifications and membership of
the College. He outlined incidents which had cast doubt on Mr Oakes'
competence. Mr Miller's complaint had initiated enquires which led to the
charges against Mr Oakes by the College, and the Committee recorded its
commendation of Mr Miller, and his colleagues.
found that Mr Oakes knowingly submitted fraudulent registration documents, the
Committee was bound, under Sections 14 and 16 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act
1966, and paragraph 17 of the 2004 Rules, to direct that his name be removed
from the Register.
Bruce, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, said: "Even if it retained
any discretion by virtue of Section 16 of the Act in respect of sanction, the
Committee would have had no hesitation in directing Mr Oakes' name to be
removed from the Register in this case. This was a deliberate and dishonest
offence by a man without the necessary qualifications to practise as a
veterinary surgeon, and it had the effect of exposing members of the public to
his fraud, and their animals to harm."
College has revised its registration procedures in the light of this case, and
now requests that all registrants produce original copies of certificates and
letters of 'good standing' at the registration ceremony.
Genitrix has launched Libromide, the first licensed formulation of potassium bromide for the treatment of canine epilepsy, following what the company believes to be the largest ever trial of dogs suffering from epilepsy.
Genitrix says the availability, for the first time, of a licensed formulation of potassium bromide should give veterinary surgeons and pet owners the reassurance that the rigorous authorisation process provides. It ensures, for instance, that the product has been developed especially for dogs and that it is manufactured in accordance with EU regulations. It also ensures that the product has been extensively and independently trialled, proven to be efficacious without adverse reactions, and that the necessary pharmacovigilance is in place to support it.
The company also says that the availability of a licensed product paves the way for more comprehensive information to be provided to veterinary surgeons on the use of potassium bromide in treating seizures. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) imposes restrictions on educational materials supplied by manufacturers of unlicensed products, an approach which has created a 'knowledge gap' among many veterinary surgeons in general practice, according to some canine epilepsy experts.
Libromide tablets are intended for use in epileptic dogs which have already commenced therapy with Phenobarbital. Phenobarbital acts to increase the effects of the GABA inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Potassium bromide is synergistic with Phenobarbital and raises the seizure threshold level in epileptic dogs.
Libromide is classified as POM-V and will be available in 325 mg tablets in packs of 100 and 500 tablets.
Rodolfo Cappello DVM PhD DipECVN MRCVS, RCVS and European Specialist in Neurology and Neurosurgery, Head of Neurology Services at North Downs Specialist Referrals, Surrey, said: "I've been successfully using potassium bromide for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs for over 15 years. The main problem has been that it's not been licensed as a medicine. With the launch of Libromide, potassium bromide finally achieves the status of an approved pharmaceutical. We will now be able to monitor quality, efficacy and side effects which will enable us to offer a more professional approach to the treatment of seizures."
Howard Wilder, founder and managing director of Genitrix, added: "Canine epilepsy is an all too common disease with estimates suggesting it affects four in every hundred dogs in the UK. It's also an illness which is not well enough understood with the lack of up to date information available to veterinary surgeons being a contributing factor.
We felt there was an opportunity to bring a licensed product to market and have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process of development and trialling Libromide. We're delighted to make it available to veterinary professionals and hope its launch will be the first step in improving treatment approaches for this distressing disease."
The Apple iPad made its UK debut last week. I queued outside the Apple shop for over 15 minutes (well, it was Salisbury, not Regent Street) on launch day to get my hands on one of the first and review it for VetSurgeon members.
For those that don't have the time for long-winded reviews, I'll come straight to the point: buy one, you won't regret it. Even if you get home and decide you have no use for a tablet computer, you could probably put it on ebay and turn a small profit. But you won't. You'll just keep finding more reasons why the iPad is an indispensable piece of kit.
I won't dwell on the technical specifications of the thing. All you really need to know is that it's a touchscreen tablet computer about the size of a small hardback, though it weighs a little more. I don't know (or care) what sort of chip it contains. Whatever it is, it's more than capable of handling the tasks the iPad is designed to do, effortlessly.
So why is the iPad a 'must have'? Because it transforms the experience of browsing the Internet, reading email etc. from being a bit of a hassle, to being as simple and quick as, er, picking up and opening a book. I think the best way to illustrate my point is to describe the uses I've found for it in the first 4 days of ownership:
BrowsingI wanted to know what's on locally for children this weekend. Normally I'd have to go and power up the computer upstairs. Not anymore. Now I just pick the iPad up off the kitchen table. It wakes instantaneously, and the browser opens at the press of a button. Incidentally, once I'd found the Sherborne Fair, it was only another couple of clicks before it was displayed on the built-in map, along with an estimated time to get there. In my case, it also makes my job easier - I can dip into the VetSurgeon and VetNurse forums much more easily when away from my desk (something I intend to be more of, from now on).
EmailNot much to say, except that once again, it's a pleasure to be able to check my email at the press of a button, rather than having to go upstairs and power up my desktop, or wait whilst my wife's interminably slow laptop gets its act together. No, the touch screen keyboard is not quite as well suited to the task as a normal keyboard. Having said that, I typed half this article on my iPad last night at very nearly the same two-handed speed as I would have on my desktop.
Read the newspaperThe Times is now available on the iPad for £9.99 per month. You just press the download button any time after 7:00am, and a few minutes later it appears on the screen. If you fall into the camp that says: 'it'll-never-catch-on-....-nothing'll-replace-the-feel-of-a-book-or-a-newspaper', I wouldn't have argued with you a week ago. Now I would. The iPad version is beautifully intuitive, and a pleasure to read. Despite a few grumbles (where is The Sunday Times?), I'll be cancelling my print subscription.
PhotographsThis is really the first viable alternative to the traditional print photograph album. And it's not just an alternative, it's a far superior way of storing and retrieving photographs. The iPad's high quality display means your pictures really leap off the screen. Its portability and ease of access mean that you might actually look at your photos and share them with others from time-to-time, rather than leaving them to gather dust in a box, or sit in an unvisited folder on your computer. I'm digitising 20 year's worth of photographs for this reason.
Other uses and appsThe list of software applications for the iPad is growing every day. Meantime, any app designed for the iPhone will also run on the iPad, though they don't make full use of the big screen. There are thousands of rather pointless apps, seemingly designed not to meet a need nobody knew they had. But amongst the rubbish, there are some genuinely useful apps out there:
A couple of minor irritations about the iPad. Currently it doesn't support the rich editing feature used by default when you post to the VetSurgeon forums, or elsewhere on the site. Fortunately, there's a quick workaround, which is to visit your VetSurgeon profile (My Account > Edit My Profile > Display Options tab) and set the Content Editor to 'Plain text'. Also, very occasionally the iPad freezes, at which point you have to press the On/Off and Home buttons together for six seconds to reset. Doubtless both these will be fixed in the next software update, due in the next month or two, I think.
The 'twitterati' has bemoaned the iPad's lack of hardware features and flexibility. There's nowhere to insert a DVD. No camera. No USB port. No card reader. But that rather misses the point. The iPad isn't a replacement for a desktop or laptop unless the only things you use a computer for are browsing and email. Anyone who wants to store and edit video, edit photographs, or create anything other than fairly basic documents or spreadsheets, still needs a bigger machine with USB ports and DVD drives galore. What the iPad does is free you from having to browse electronic media at a desk. And it does so in such user-friendly way that I'll be ordering one for my Mum (aged 62) and my grandmother (aged 92).
There are six models available. Three memory sizes: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with either wi-fi Internet access, or wi-fi plus 3G mobile phone access. Prices from £429 to about £700 (to which you'll need to add the cost of a protective wallet). I plumped for the 64GB memory (probably overkill), wi-fi only model, on the basis that there are enough BT Openzone wi-fi hotspots now to mean I'll never be far from one.
I'm not normally one for hyperbole. But in this case, I'll forgive Mr. Jobs calling the iPad 'a magical and revolutionary product'.
Veterinary Association has expressed concern following the announcement by the
University of Surrey that it is launching a new school of veterinary medicine,
with the first cohort of students due to start in 2014.
Peter Jones, President of the BVA, said: "Reports of a
new veterinary course at the University
of Surrey will be of
significant concern to our members, particularly veterinary students and recent
already seeing an increasing intake of students at the existing veterinary
schools. Another veterinary course will place even more graduates onto the
veterinary employment market putting significant pressure on the employment
prospects of individual graduates.
also impact on the ability of the profession to accommodate the increasing
demand for extra mural studies (EMS)
placements and the ability of all schools to continue to provide high quality
education and high quality teaching staff.
result could be an oversupply of highly qualified veterinary surgeons carrying
significant amounts of debt unable to find employment within the profession.
graduates are already reporting difficulties in finding their first jobs with
some saying that it takes 6 to 9 months.
the veterinary profession was removed from the Home Office's shortage
occupation list because it became apparent that we currently have sufficient
veterinary surgeons to meet demand. Another veterinary course could tip the
balance too far the other way.
from the University of Surrey also illustrates that a greater oversight of
the number of veterinary graduates coming onto the market is badly needed to
properly plan future requirements of the veterinary profession in the UK."
RCVS President Neil Smith has issued a statement in response to the petition by Devon vet Jo Dyer which called for the removal of mandatory house visits from the Code of Professional Conduct and received just shy of 1300 signatures over the past 48 hours.
The statement reads:
"I am delighted to see that so many veterinary surgeons are taking seriously our call for views and evidence on all aspects of the provision of 24-hour emergency cover, including those who have signed up to veterinary surgeon Jo Dyer's petition calling for the removal of 'mandatory house visits' from the Code of Professional Conduct.
"However, I am concerned that the petition is working on a misunderstanding. Veterinary surgeons are not mandated to attend away from the practice just because an owner has requested a visit. It is a professional decision based on a range of factors.
"In fact, paragraph 3.13 of the Supporting Guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct states 'Clients may request attendance on a sick or injured animal away from the practice premises and, in some circumstances, it may be desirable to do so. On rare occasions, it may be necessary on clinical or welfare grounds. The decision to attend away from the practice is for the veterinary surgeon, having carefully balanced the needs of the animal against the safety implications of making the visit; a veterinary surgeon is not expected to risk 'life or limb', or that of anyone else, to provide the service.'
"I appreciate that recent disciplinary hearings, especially that of Mr Chikosi, have increased concerns in the profession that vets will be disciplined for not turning out to every single request for a home visit. This is not the case. In order for someone to be taken to a disciplinary hearing for refusing to attend away from the practice, first there needs to be a complaint, and second, the Preliminary Investigation Committee needs to be convinced that the veterinary surgeon could not justify their decision. Such cases are rare. In fact, last year, only 3% of the complaints we received were about 24-hour cover, and not all of those related to home visits.
"Having said this, the number of signatures received on Jo Dyer's petition, and the comments of the signatories, will be fed into the material reviewed by the Standards Committee, alongside formal responses to our call for evidence, and views gathered from animal-owner research. Clearly if so many veterinary surgeons believe that house visits are mandatory in all circumstances, the wording of our guidance needs to be reviewed, at the very least.
"It is likely that any recommendations for change in our 24/7 policy would go to the June meeting of Council, although this timetable is subject to change, depending on the nature of the report from the Standards Committee."
BVA president-elect John Blackwell has found himself on the front page of The Times today, and interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme, with a call to end the practice of slitting animal's throats and allowing them to bleed to death in order to produce kosher and halal meat.
According to the newspaper, 600,000 animals are killed this way every week in the UK.
Mr Blackwell is urging Jews and Muslims to allow meat-producing animals to be stunned before they are killed.
Speaking to The Times, Mr Blackwell said: "As veterinary surgeons, it is one of the most important issues on our radar. This is something that can be changed in an instant."
See other media reports here.
The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has struck off Suffolk vet Oliver Fraser Lown after finding him guilty of five separate charges relating to the possession of extreme animal pornography and sexual activity with animals.
Mr Lown, who graduated from Szent Istvan University in Hungary and has stated that he has never practised in the UK, did not attend the Disciplinary Committee hearing but was represented by Mr Jo Cooper, a solicitor-advocate. He was accused of five charges of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect:
On the first day of the hearing, the respondent made an application to the Disciplinary Committee that the hearing should be held in private on the basis that any publicity about the case 'would offend public morality' due to the nature of the allegations and because the respondent's father suffers from ill-health, which could be adversely affected by any publicity. The Committee rejected the application on the grounds that the nature of the allegations was already in the public domain and that public justice in the context of professional regulation outweighed the private concerns of the respondent regarding his father.
On the second day of the hearing, the respondent made an application to adjourn charges 2 - 5 on the basis that he had already admitted, and received a conditional discharge, for the first charge and would, therefore, not oppose removal from the Register and an undertaking never to re-apply. The respondent also argued that the original decision of the College to register him in July 2013 was flawed because it was unfair to admit him, in awareness of his conditional discharge, apparently for the purpose of taking disciplinary proceedings against him. He also referred to the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to prosecute him in respect of charge 4.
This application was dismissed by the Disciplinary Committee on the grounds of the gravity of charges 2 - 5 and the fact that the respondent chose to apply to join the Register and had been advised to seek legal advice regarding his conditional discharge beforehand. Furthermore, the Disciplinary Committee heard that there was no error at the time of his registration because the conditional discharge was not a conviction and therefore, under the Veterinary Surgeons Act, there was no option to refuse registration.
The respondent then made a final application to have the case adjourned on the grounds that new documentation he had received the previous day regarding his registration had led his lawyers to conclude that the decision to register him may have been unlawful. However, the Disciplinary Committee said that, in its understanding, the RCVS Registrar had no option but to register Mr Lown. The Disciplinary Committee then dismissed the application on the grounds that any challenge of the validity of registration could and should have been made within the three month time limit for judicial review and that no significant new documentation about Mr Lown's registration had come to light that could reasonably be said to have triggered a judicial review and warrant an adjournment. It also again highlighted the gravity of the charges.
The Disciplinary Committee then heard evidence in relation to charges 2 -5, including that of two officers from North Yorkshire Police who took part in the original investigation, who the Committee found to be credible and reliable witnesses, and, after reviewing the evidence, found that all four charges were proven.
The Committee then considered the appropriate sanction for Mr Lown, and took into account a number of aggravating factors including the risk of injury to animals, premeditated misconduct, sexual misconduct, misconduct sustained or repeated over a period of time and his lack of insight into the offences or his overall conduct.
Professor Noreen Burrows, chairing the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: "In these circumstances, the Committee has no doubt that the respondent's conduct was of the utmost seriousness. The material found in possession of the respondent and his own conduct in charge 4 involved the abuse of animals and a total lack of respect for their welfare. In the judgement of the Committee each of the charges individually amounts to disgraceful conduct and the charges certainly amount to disgraceful conduct when taken cumulatively."
In order to safeguard animal welfare, maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold proper standards of conduct, the Disciplinary Committee directed the Registrar to remove Mr Lown's name from the Register.
The Committee's full findings and decision are available on the RCVS website (www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary).
More on this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-28524348
A Jack Russell from Thurso had a bit of a surprise last week, when it looked down the stethoscope to find Prince Charles at the other end.
The slightly unlikely encounter happened when the prince visited the newly-extended North Highland College Rural Studies Centre.
The purpose-built centre, which houses veterinary nursing, gamekeeping and equestrian students, boasts a nurse training area complete with theatre, prep room, isolation area and consultation room, where Prince Charles was invited to watch a bandaging demonstration and listen to the dog's heart murmur.
Over seventy guests attended the event and were introduced to Prince Charles before he was presented with a gift from vet nursing student Paula Morgan. Paula from Ayrshire, who is a former veterinary nursing student of the College said: "The facility is an absolutely fantastic asset to the College. It is so good for students having the equestrian studies section based just across the courtyard here too! It was a great honour to present Prince Charles with his gift at his visit to the newly revamped centre."
Alternative picture caption, anyone?
A vet from Texas hit the headlines this weekend after allegedly killing a feral cat with a bow and arrow and then posting photographs and bragging about it on Facebook.
According to various news reports, Kristen Lindsey DVM's post quickly went viral, and one of two Facebook pages set up in response - Justice for Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey - has already attracted over 35,000 likes. There are also petitions to revoke her license on thepetitionsite.com and change.org which have each gathered around 18,000 signatures thus far.
Sky News reports that Ms Lindsey was quickly fired by her employer, the Washington Animal Clinic, which issued a statement on Facebook.
The veterinary clinic's website and Facebook page are both currently unavailable.
The RCVS is encouraging veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and other members of the practice team to respond to a government consultation on changing the law to introduce English language testing for veterinary surgeons who have qualified from elsewhere in the European Union.
Under the proposals outlined in the consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the test would apply before an individual joined the Register and only where the RCVS had ‘serious and concrete doubts’ about their English language abilities. The plan to consult on this issue had been welcomed by RCVS Council at its June 2015 meeting.
Every year, around half of all new veterinary surgeon registrants are from outside the UK, the majority from other EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries. These individuals fall within the scope of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive, which applies to all EU nationals wishing to practise in a regulated profession in another member state.
Last year, a revised version of the MRPQ Directive came into force, which made a number of changes, including clarifying and reinforcing the role of competent authorities such as the RCVS. One of these changes is that language testing is expressly permitted, but only where serious concerns have been identified.
Gordon Hockey, RCVS Registrar, said: “Under the current legislation the College is not able to bar someone from joining the Register, and therefore practising, on the basis of language ability, even where we may have serious concerns.
“I would encourage all veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and other members of the practice team to engage with this consultation and consider whether the College should have the right to impose a language test where it has serious doubts, more in line with medical doctors, and the form such testing would take.”
Under the proposals, applicants would be asked a series of questions concerning their language qualifications, experience and general ability to use the English language before registering. Depending on how they answer the questions they may then have to pass a language test before registering, or delay their application while they improve their language skills.
The consultation results will inform the College’s work with Defra to determine whether to proceed with implementation and, if so, to develop the most appropriate system of language testing. The College would implement language testing for veterinary nurses in parallel with any changes for veterinary surgeons.
Those who wish to take part in the consultation can do so at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/vet_language_controls. The deadline for responses is Wednesday 30 September 2015.
The organisations say that the RCVS position is that it expects veterinary surgeons to offer treatments "underpinned by a recognised evidence base".
However, what the RCVS position statement actually says is: "we expect that treatments offered by veterinary surgeons are underpinned by a recognised evidence base or sound scientific principles".
As yet, neither the Faculty of Homeopathy nor the BAHVS have explained which sound scientific principles homeopathy may be based on.
The Faculty of Homeopathy and the BAHVS go on to say that misinformation concerning the efficacy of homeopathy has been promulgated by a small minority opposed to homeopathy.
However, a survey carried out by VetSurgeon.org and Alex Gough MRCVS, Head of Medicine Referrals at Bath Veterinary Group in 2013 found that 83% of veterinary surgeons opposed homeopathy, 78% to the degree that they felt it should not be practised under the the professional title of MRCVS.
The BAHVS response claims there is quality evidence supporting the efficacy of homeopathy, in direct contradiction to the many and various bodies and studies that have concluded the reverse, including the NHS, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and more recently, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), an organisation representing the 29 national academies in Europe including the Royal Society, which recently declared in a statement that: "homeopathy is implausible" and "there is no rigorous evidence to substantiate the use of homeopathy in veterinary medicine."
The BAHVS claims there is growing interest in homeopathy from animal owners, "as they see conventional medicines regularly failing or producing adverse side-effects". It says: "this is especially true in livestock farming where there is a drive to reduce the dependence on antibiotics in light of concerns about antimicrobial resistance".
However, the recent EASAC statement specifically singled out the use of homeopathy in farm animals, saying that the lack of evidence is: "particularly worrying when such products are used in preference to evidence-based medicinal products to treat livestock infections."
The BAHVS response says that if the RCVS were to apply the same evidential criteria it is using for homeopathy to all treatments, there would be far fewer clinical options available to the profession; that the RCVS is limiting veterinary surgeons' clinical freedom. However, it doesn't substantiate this claim with examples of any clinical treatments used by veterinary surgeons which are not based on scientific principles and which would be limited if the same evidential standards applied.
VetSurgeon.org supports the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine.
Photo: Multicolored homeopathy tubes isolated on a white background. Lush. Shutterstock.
The aim of the webinar is to help bring everyone together to support one another and review how the profession can continue to protect animal health and welfare whilst also helping to slow the pandemic.
Subjects covered will include:
The webinar starts at noon tomorrow. It runs for one hour and there will be time for questions. The webinar will be recorded, so those who miss it will be able to watch it later.
Merck, part owner of Merial, has announced a merger with Intervet Schering-Plough.
However, rumours that Merck plans to sell its 50% stake in Merial and move forward with Intervet Schering Plough are incorrect, according to Merck spokespeople.
They'll have to start thinking about what to call themselves soon. Merial-Intervet-Schering-Plough is a bit of a mouthful.
ITV's Tonight programme broadcast last night portrayed a veterinary profession in which overcharging is commonplace.
Researchers for the programme took three healthy animals (a cat, a dog and a rabbit) to a number of different vets, telling them that the animals were off their food. The advice they were given varied. In the case of the rabbit from no treatment necessary, to dental work under general anaesthetic.
TV vet Marc Abraham then looked at each animal and told viewers that the correct advice in each case would have been the least expensive.
The programme also highlighted the substantial savings that pet owners can make by buying drugs online, and questioned whether the penalty meted out to a vet that had committed malpractice was sufficient (the vet had been struck off for 14 months, where presenter Jonathan Maitland argued it should have been for life).
Veterinary business consultant Mark Moran said: "So often, vets rely to a large degree on what owners are telling them, and the degree to which they insist the animal is ill, or off its food, will affect the advice and treatment given. Marc Abraham had the luxury of being presented three animals that he knew to be perfectly fit and well."
However he agreed wholeheartedly with the response from RCVS President Jill Nute this morning, that the thing both vets and pet owners need to learn from the programme is "the importance of communicating with each other".
Mark said: "It's a question of managing people's expectations. There'll always be a variance in the advice being given, but being up-front and open will help mitigate the risk of being accused of overcharging".
Click here to watch the programme. Click here to read the reactions to Marc Abrahams' blog
A survey carried out in 2008 by the British Veterinary Association and its student branch, the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) has found that that one in three students find themselves in difficult or severe financial situations, more than half have suffered from stress, over a fifth from depression, over a quarter from anxiety and one in every 14 from an eating disorder.
The survey also found that some veterinary schools have almost doubled their intake of overseas veterinary students since the survey was last conducted in 2005.
Other key findings from the survey included:
The AVS suggests that there are opportunities for veterinary schools and the veterinary profession to improve the bleak financial picture for students. BVA already provides support meetings for young professionals and has put together a position statement which will kick-start a lobbying process for:
BVA President Nicky Paull said: "The BVA/AVS survey, a part of the BVA's continuing work on behalf of veterinary students, once again continues to highlight the growing problem of debt. This is a particular problem for veterinary undergraduates whose five year course by definition will attract more debt than the average three year undergraduate course.
"The impact of this increasing debt is twofold. Firstly, new graduates are more likely to choose their first jobs on the basis of salary and reducing debt rather than individual professional development. Secondly, we are concerned that as school leavers make career decisions on financial grounds, only those from relatively affluent backgrounds will choose the veterinary profession. This is contrary to the aims of Government to promote the DfES/Gateway to the Professions initiative. It would be sad to see such a vitally important undergraduate course become one which can only be undertaken by talented young people from families who feel they can afford to help with the long term costs.
"The veterinary undergraduate course is not only training future veterinarians on animal health and welfare but also in the essential role vets play in food safety and the health of the nation."
The full survey results can be downloaded here.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has launched an online quiz to test its members' knowledge of the Guide to Professional Conduct.
The Guide outlines what is acceptable professional and ethical behaviour for veterinary surgeons. It is developed and maintained by the Advisory Committee of the RCVS, which, in addition to veterinary members of RCVS Council, also includes lay members, a member of the Veterinary Nurses Council, and independent (ie non-Council) veterinary surgeons. The Guide is the benchmark against which a veterinary surgeon is judged, by both the Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees.
The quiz, which was road-tested at the London Vet Show on 6-7 November, is anonymous, but the College will be collating data on results to help focus future communications activities and see where extra guidance may be required.
On completion of the quiz, it is possible to review answers and view the relevant section of the online Guide.
The quiz is aimed at veterinary surgeons: if it's a success, a version for Registered Veterinary Nurses will follow.
To try the quiz, visit www.rcvs.org.uk/guidequiz It will initially be online for three months and reviewed thereafter.
Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
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