Gold Standard

Dr. Hutber reported: "What I found slightly comical at the RCVS hearing was a level of hypocrisy. I was informed by the RCVS Registrar that the RCVS 'was only in the business of prosecuting vets', so I'll therefore restrict my examples to RCVS veterinary witness(es). The RCVS (or those who appeared as RCVS witnesses) have discussed my professional life in public. Whilst mutual mudslinging is generally destructive, in my defence I feel reasonably justified to cite the following relevant information."

"Simon White of Whitelodge Vets appeared as a witness for the RCVS. During his oral evidence, Mr. White stated that his work was 'gold standard' with respect to the veterinary profession. In 2002 and within 12 months of opening my Porlock surgery, I'd spoken to about a thousand former Whitelodge clients who'd transferred over to our surgery at about 8 miles from the Whitelodge practice. Relevantly, a common reason for transferring was cited as high prices levied at Whitelodge and the conducting of numerous unnecessary diagnostic tests. Dishonesty was also cited as a reason for transfer. Mrs. 'S' related an incident where her dog had undergone a surgical procedure at Whitelodge Vets and was returned to her with a hip fracture. Mrs. 'S' was eventually told by a Whitelodge veterinary nurse that her dog had jumped off the operating table whilst recovering from surgery, and that Whitelodge Vets had attempted to conceal the incident. In 2010 my colleague 'Charlie C*******' opened a practice in Taunton and reported to me that he had similarly taken more than a thousand clients from Whitelodge Vets shortly after opening. Charlie related that one of those clients had expressed his anger towards a Whitelodge partner - Simon White is a partner at Whitelodge Vets. The client's dog was reportedly euthanised by the partner after suffering from cancer, but only after the partner had performed tests that cost more than three thousand pounds. When the client subsequently met with the partner on a shooting trip, the partner explained that 'this case was only ever going one way'. The client felt that the Whitelodge partner should have informed him before he'd incurred the costs, and that the action was dishonest. Simon White's previous description of his practice work as being 'gold standard' was not the description offered by numerous former clients."

"Simon White was neither a professional, nor an impartial RCVS witness. Whitelodge partners [Simon White and Tom Gliddon] had turned up at my practice initially offering (nb. unsolicited) to help me with staffing issues, and then to purchase my practice. When I respectfully declined the purchase offer, they employed Margaret Weaver [as their Practice Manager], the person who'd previously sold me the practice. Whitelodge shortly thereafter opened up along the road from my surgery [Supersession] and RCVS complaints were made against my practice (from clients who'd transferred with Margaret Weaver to Whitelodge). Simon White wasn't consequently qualified to act as an impartial RCVS witness. The RCVS had been made aware of this background information."

"However, despite Mr. White's willingness to testify against another veterinarian for commerical advantage, I still believe in the old Christian ideal of 'forgiveness'. If Simon White apologised and suggested that we collaborate on veterinary research, I'd probably accept the offer. The same also applies to the RCVS, despite the partiality and corruption that I've encountered. My guess though is that apologies probably won't happen in this lifetime. The useful thing about religion is that everyone eventually discovers that there's an eternity to sort these things out."