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THE RCVS Disciplinary Committee has directed that the name of a veterinary surgeon who it found guilty of 32 charges relating to TB testing and certification should be removed from the RCVS Register.
At the end of a 10-day disciplinary hearing on May 3, the committee found that Sorin Dinu Chelemen had not properly followed the standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to TB testing, that he had been dishonest in certifying the tests and that he had breached his duties as an Official Veterinarian (OV).
The RCVS reports that Mr Chelemen disputed all the charges he faced, which related to his work as an OV on four farms while he had been employed as a locum at the Endell Veterinary Group in Salisbury. Mr Chelemen, who represented himself at the disciplinary hearing, gave the Disciplinary Committee detailed accounts of what he said had happened during the TB testing on all four farms. He also said that he had poor knowledge and comprehension of written and spoken English at the time.
The Disciplinary Committee accepted that his English had been poor at the time of the tests, which had led to communication problems, but noted that he had satisfactorily demonstrated that he knew how to perform TB tests in accordance with the SOPs when he started work at the practice. It also noted that similar issues with regard to the testing process had been reported on the four farms. It found that Mr Chelemen had not measured the animals in accordance with the SOPs when he ought to have, and had been dishonest in certifying the tests.
In considering what sanction to apply, the committee decided that an aggravating factor had been that Mr Chelemen's actions had undermined procedures to prevent the spread of disease. ‘In particular, he failed to notify the owners on three farms that he had found reactors or inconclusive reactors, resulting in those animals not being isolated. Nor did he submit paperwork to Animal Health about these animals, which was a fundamental breach of his duties as an OV,’ the RCVS reports.
In mitigation, the Disciplinary Committee accepted that Mr Chelemen had no previous RCVS disciplinary findings against him and that the OV training he had received was limited, given that English was not his first language and his relative inexperience as a TB tester. It says it also took into account that the disciplinary case had been in progress for three years, his poor health and his financial and family circumstances.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, its chairman, Judith Webb, said: ‘The committee is of the view that this is a most serious case, in which the integrity of TB testing was undermined, and animal health was put at risk, which may have resulted in the spread of disease. Furthermore, this case involves findings of dishonesty, which has been held to come at the top end of the spectrum of gravity of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.’
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