RCVS Investigation of negligence complaints and the ratio of complaints upheld

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

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[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons,

Please provide the numbers of complaints made to you regarding veterinary surgeons between 2010 and present date 2015, broken down by month and by nature of complaint.

Please clearly state in your response:
1. How many complaints were investigated and by whom (i.e. RCVS personnel or independent investigators)
2. How many complaints were upheld
3. How many complaints led to a disciplinary committee hearing
4. How many complaints led to other disciplinary action/financial penalties of any kind against the veterinary surgeon(s)
3. How many complaints were rejected, and why

Yours faithfully,

S [name removed]

Sandra Neary, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

6 Attachments

Dear S [name removed]

 

Thank you for your email dated 5 February 2015 sent to Mr Hockey.

 

Your request for information has been registered and we will write to you
again within 20 working days of the date of your email (in accordance with
requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act).

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Sandra Neary

For and on behalf of

Eleanor Ferguson

Head of Professional Conduct

 

Professional Conduct Department

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Belgravia House

62-64 Horseferry Road

London

SW1P 2AF

 

T 020 7202 0730

F 020 7202 0740

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Sandra Neary, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

9 Attachments

Dear S [name removed]

 

I write further to your request for information under the Freedom of
Information (FOI) Act. Requested information is set out below with links
to relevant publications.

 

The numbers of complaints made to you regarding veterinary surgeons
between 2010 and present date 2015, broken down by month and by nature of
complaint.

 

Annual figures

 

 

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 – 739 complaints received

 

1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011 – 694 complaints received

 

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012 – 747 complaints received

 

1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013 – 789 complaints received

 

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014 – 783 complaints received

 

1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015 - The complaint figures for the whole of this
period will be made available in the RCVS FACTS normally published in the
summer.

 

The number of complaints registered between 6 March 2014 – 8 October 2014
can be viewed in the PI Committee Chairman’s Reports to Council (June 2014
& November 2014) which are attached. The number of concerns registered
between 9 October 2014 and 8 February 2015 can be viewed in the PI
Committee Chairman’s Report to Council (March 2015) which forms part of
the ‘Council Papers March 2015’ bundle (page 110) which can be viewed at
the following link on the RCVS website:
[1]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/about-us/rcvs-cou...

 

 

Nature of complaints

 

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010

 

Disclosure of Information 16
Fees and related matters 76
Promoting the practice 21
Practice standards (general) 33
Practice standards (24hour emergency cover) 23
Practice standards (euthanasia) 30
Practice standards (general communication) 151
Running the business 8
Treatment of animals by non-veterinary surgeons 6
Certification 20
The use of veterinary medicinal products 23
Alleged inadequate care 305
Others 27

 

 

1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011

 

Disclosure of Information 14
Fees and related matters 54
Promoting the practice 6
Practice standards (general) 62
Practice standards (24hour emergency cover) 36
Practice standards (euthanasia) 33
Practice standards (general communication) 141
Running the business 4
Treatment of animals by non-veterinary surgeons 4
Certification 13
The use of veterinary medicinal products 23
Alleged inadequate care 280
Others 24

 

 

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012

 

Please see figure 10. (Page 18 of the RCVS FACTS 2012 which can be
accessed at this [2]link )

 

1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013

 

Please see figure 10. (Page 18 of the RCVS FACTS 2013 which can be
accessed at this [3]link.)

 

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014

 

Please see figure 11. (Page 18 of the RCVS FACTS 2014 which can be
accessed at this [4]link)  

 

1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015

 

The categories of complaints registered between 6 March 2014 and 8
February 2015 can be viewed in the relevant PI Committee Chairman’s
Reports to Council (June 2014; November 2014 and March 2015)

 

 

How many complaints were investigated and by whom (i.e. RCVS personnel or
independent investigators)

 

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010

 

All complaints were investigated by RCVS personnel with 30 of these then
being referred to external Solicitors (including formal witness statements
taken). For figures relating to visits ** undertaken during this period
(announced and unannounced), see table 16 (on page 19 of the RCVS FACTS
2010 which can be accessed at this [5]link).

 

1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011

 

All complaints were investigated by RCVS personnel with 28 of these then
being referred to external Solicitors (including formal witness statements
taken). For figures relating to visits undertaken during this period
(announced and unannounced), see table 16 (on page 19 of the RCVS FACTS
2011 which can be accessed at this [6]link).  

 

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012

 

All complaints were investigated by RCVS personnel with 28 of these then
being referred to external Solicitors (including formal witness
statements taken). For figures relating to visits undertaken during this
period (announced and unannounced), see table 19 (on page 19 of the RCVS
FACTS 2012 which can be accessed at this [7]link)

 

1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013

 

All complaints were investigated by RCVS personnel with 20 of these then
being referred to external Solicitors (including formal witness
statements taken). For figures relating to visits undertaken during this
period (announced and unannounced), see table 19 (on page 19 of the RCVS
FACTS 2013 which can be accessed at this [8]link.)

 

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014

 

All complaints were investigated by RCVS personnel with 38 of these then
being referred to external Solicitors (including formal witness
statements taken). For figures relating to visits undertaken during this
period (announced and unannounced), see table 13 (on page 19 of the RCVS
FACTS 2014 which can be accessed at this [9]link)  

 

 

**  All visits that are undertaken involve the Chief Investigator and
occasionally the senior Case Manager. They are always accompanied by one
of four independent veterinary investigators who are independent of the
RCVS. 

 

 

2. How many complaints were upheld

 

See answer to question 3 below.

 

 

3. How many complaints led to a disciplinary committee hearing

 

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 – 12 Disciplinary Hearings held  (including 4
Restoration applications)

 

1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011 -  10 Disciplinary Hearings held  (including
2 Restoration applications)

 

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012 – 12 Disciplinary Hearings held (including 3
Restoration applications)

 

1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013 – 12 Disciplinary Hearings held (including 2
Restoration applications)

 

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014 – 13 Disciplinary Hearings held (including 1
Restoration application)

 

 

More detailed information about the complaints referred to Disciplinary
Hearings can be found in the RCVS Facts published annually (see links
above) and details of the Disciplinary Hearings held during the last three
years (including copies of charges and decisions) can be accessed on the
RCVS website at the following link:
[10]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/concerns/discipli...

 

 

4. How many complaints led to other disciplinary action/financial
penalties of any kind against the veterinary surgeon(s)

 

 

Financial penalties

 

The RCVS has no statutory authority to issue financial penalties (for
example, a fine) to either veterinary surgeons or registered veterinary
nurses.

 

You may wish to read more information about the Alternative dispute
resolution (ADR) trial accessible at the following link:
[11]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/concerns/alternat...

 

 

Health Protocol

 

The RCVS recognises that sometimes it will be in the public interest to
deal with veterinary surgeons suffering from adverse health without
referring a case to the Disciplinary Committee for a formal hearing.
Generally, it is more appropriate to take a medical approach in cases
involving medical problems. In line with the procedures of other
professional regulators, the RCVS Health Protocol is designed to allow the
veterinary profession and RCVS to work together to protect the public
interest by dealing appropriately with health-related cases. This Protocol
(introduced in 2010) provides that veterinary surgeons whose cases are not
referred to the DC can be invited to give undertakings which may, for
example, limit the extent to which they may practise. Cases may also be
monitored by the RCVS through workplace and medical supervisors. You can
read more information about the RCVS Health Protocol at the following
link:
[12]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/advice-and-guidan...

 

 

Performance protocol 

 

In line with the procedures of other professional regulators, the RCVS
Performance Protocol is designed to allow the veterinary profession and
RCVS to work together to protect the public interest by responding to
ongoing concerns about a veterinary surgeon’s professional performance.
This Protocol provides that veterinary surgeons whose cases are not
referred to the DC can be invited to give undertakings which may, for
example, limit the extent to which they may practise. Cases may also be
monitored by the RCVS through procedures established and currently used by
the PIC, which may involve workplace supervisors appointed in agreement
with the veterinary surgeon. You can read more information about the RCVS
Performance Protocol at the following link:
[13]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/advice-and-guidan...

 

 

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 – The Health Protocol was introduced at the
end of 2010 and the Performance Protocol in 2012.

 

 

1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011 – See figures relating to veterinary surgeons
dealt with under the Health Protocol in the Chairman’s report to Council
(attached).

 

                                               Report to Council March
2011 (page 3)

 

 

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012 -  See figures relating to veterinary
surgeons dealt with under the Health & Performance Protocols in the
Chairman’s reports to Council (attached).   

 

                                               Report to Council June 2011
(page 3)

                                               Report to Council November
2011 (page 2)

                                               Report to Council March
2012 (page 3)

 

 

1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013 – See figures relating to veterinary surgeons
dealt with under the Health & Performance Protocols in the Chairman’s
reports to Council (attached).

 

                                               Report to Council June 2012
(page 5)

                                               Report to Council November
2012 (pages 2 & 3)

                                               Report to Council March
2013 (pages 3 & 4)

 

 

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014 – Number of cases dealt with under the Health
protocol – 6

                                                Number of cases dealt with
under the Performance protocol – 2

 

 

1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015 - See figures relating to veterinary surgeons
dealt with under the Health & Performance Protocols in the Chairman’s
reports to Council (attached).

 

                                               Report to Council June 2014
(page 3)

                                               Report to Council November
2014 (pages 3 & 4)

                                               Report to Council March
2015 
[14]http://www.rcvs.org.uk/about-us/rcvs-cou...

 

 

 

As regards your request complaints made to you regarding veterinary
surgeons between 2010 and present date 2015, broken down by month and 3)
The reasons why complaints were rejected; we are unable to assist;  it is
estimated that the cost of fulfilling your request will cost in excess of
the £450 cost limit applicable to the RCVS. The reason for this is that it
would involve a manual search of the closed complaint files.

 

If you are not happy with the handling of your request you may:

a. Write to Mr Gordon Hockey, the Registrar of the RCVS, at the RCVS
offices (or email [15][email address])

              

b. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may
write to the Information Commissioner, who is appointed to consider such
complaints at the address shown below:

 

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

[16]http://www.ico.gov.uk/

 

Regards

  

 

Eleanor Ferguson

 

Solicitor

Head of Professional Conduct

                                 

 

 

 

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