Derbyshire Vet Acquitted Over Level of Fees
12 July 2002
Please note: This is an archived news story. Mr John David Bailey MRCVS remains on the RCVS Register of Members and is entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in the UK.
The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has, this week, acquitted a Derbyshire based veterinary surgeon who faced charges of disgraceful conduct over the level of his professional fees.
John David Bailey had stood accused of bringing the profession into disrepute both because of the level of his charges for Prescription Only Medicines and his failure both to provide full details of charges for external laboratory services to his clients and, subsequently, to cooperate with their insurance company.
Whilst acknowledging that Mr Bailey's prices were "at the top end of the scale" the Committee did not consider that they warranted the charge brought. Dr Judy MacArthur Clark, Chairman of the Committee said, “The most important consideration is whether the client has been made fully aware of the level of treatment to be undertaken and the likely costs.
“Market forces will regulate prices but only if the necessary information is freely available to clients to enable them to make informed choices". The Committee heard that Mr Bailey had, at one stage, increased his prices but then been forced to lower them because he was losing clients. “This demonstrates the effect of market forces,” said Dr MacArthur Clark.
Mr Bailey's admitted failure to provide his clients with specific information relating to fees for laboratory tests was found to be in breach of the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct. Although the Committee was critical of this, as well as his failure to cooperate fully with the clients' insurers, it felt these deficiencies did not warrant a charge as serious as disgraceful conduct in a professional respect. Mr Bailey assured the Committee that his computer systems had since been updated to provide a more detailed fee breakdown.
In re-emphasising the need for openness and transparency in what is a complex three-way business relationship, Dr MacArthur Clark said, "Effective liaison between veterinary surgeons, insurers and clients – who may not fully appreciate the increasingly high costs of veterinary services – is essential to the smooth operation of these arrangements."