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Vet reprimanded for failure to discharge professional duties

11 March 2005

Please note: This is an archived news story. Mr Romeo Raykov Tonchev 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 issued a reprimand to a veterinary surgeon after the way in which he handled a consultation at a practice in South Glamorgan.

Mr Romeo Tonchev faced a charge of disgraceful professional conduct at this week's hearing, concerning his failure to discharge his professional responsibilities towards a client and their Yorkshire Terrier bitch, Tingah. He was found guilty on four of the six aspects of the charge.

The Committee heard that after unsuccessfully attempting to euthanase Tingah, Mr Tonchev then temporarily discharged the dog and instructed the owners to take her for an appointment at another branch later that day. This he did without examining the dog to determine her clinical condition and without providing sufficient advice on her interim care. By discharging Tingah out of his professional care in this way, the Committee agreed that her welfare had been compromised.

Further, the Committee found that Mr Tonchev had failed to acknowledge the degree of distress his actions caused Tingah's owners, although it was suggested that cultural differences may have affected his ability to empathise with his clients.

However, the Committee acknowledged that Mr Tonchev had become a member of the RCVS only relatively recently at the time of the consultation, that he had not been provided with a veterinary nurse to assist him with the procedure and that he was under considerable time pressure to attend separate practices.

Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, Mr Geoffrey Skerritt, said: "Euthanasia is a cardinally important part of general practice. It is an emotional time for many owners and the manner in which it is performed can do much to enhance, or diminish, the standing of the veterinary profession.

"Taking into account all the circumstances, and Mr Tonchev's two excellent character references, our decision is that the appropriate penalty in this case is a reprimand."

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