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Eleanor Ferguson, RCVS registrar, responds
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  • Published on:
    Telemedicine and conflicts of interest
    • Gordon Brown, RCVS specialist in small animal orthopaedic surgery None

    I am grateful to the registrar for her response to my letter on Telemedicine and Conflicts of Interest in general. I would agree that it is inevitable that council members will have ‘interests’ in a wide range of issues and indeed their breadth of knowledge, experience and exposure to these issues is an asset to council. It is also entirely appropriate that interests are openly declared and assumed that members will serve with the highest level of integrity for the benefit of animal health and welfare.

    It is however not, in my opinion, appropriate to assume that all levels of interest are viewed in the same way and that by simply declaring an interest, no further scrutiny would be appropriate. In formulating policy on conflicts of interest, the RCVS should take the level of interest (and therefore the potential for gain through bias) into consideration. It is appropriate to record that in the event of conflicts of interest arising, there is already guidance in place for the relevant committee chair or president to request the following actions of council members -

    1. Standing down from the committee, sub-committee, etc.; 

    2. Not attending a particular meeting; 

    3. Leaving the room for the duration of a particular item; 

    4. Staying in the meeting for the discussion but leaving the room when the decision is made or a 
vote taken; 

    5. Staying in the meeting throughout to provide information and advice only; 

    6. Staying in the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.