The disciplinary committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has directed that a veterinary surgeon based in Clwyd in North Wales be removed from the register after she dishonestly obtained prescription-only medication knowing that it was for human and not veterinary use.
The hearing for Alina Grecko took place from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 September 2023 with two charges against her.
The first charge was that she had caused a registered veterinary nurse colleague to order griseofulvin, a prescription-only antifungal medication, knowing that it was for human use rather than legitimate veterinary use.
The charges also alleged that she then caused a student veterinary nurse colleague to record the order in the name of another veterinary surgeon, who was not involved in the order or prescription of the medication, and falsely record that it was for Mrs Grecko’s dog.
The second charge was that, in relation to the circumstances outlined in the first charge, she had acted dishonestly and misleadingly, as the medication was, in fact, intended for use by Mrs Grecko’s husband.
At the outset of the hearing, Mrs Grecko admitted she had asked her RVN colleague to order the medication and for her SVN colleague to record that the medication was for her dog and that doing this was dishonest and misleading, Mrs Grecko accepted that these admitted charges amounted to serious professional misconduct. However, she denied the allegation that she asked an SVN to record it under the name of another veterinary surgeon and that this was therefore dishonest and misleading.
In respect of the parts of the charge that she denied, the committee considered evidence from all of the primary witnesses in the case, noting it had the evidence of two witnesses who were consistent in their eyewitness evidence that Mrs Grecko had told her SVN colleague to record the medication under another colleague’s name as well as the supporting evidence from another witnesses that Mrs Grecko had made a similar admission.
It therefore found it proven that she had asked her SVN colleague to make a false record under the name of another veterinary surgeon, and that this was dishonest and misleading.
Having considered the facts of the charges, the committee then considered whether the admitted and proven charges amounted to serious professional conduct, taking into account both aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
The committee found that all the proven charges amounted to serious professional misconduct.
Paul Morris, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf said: “The committee considered that Mrs Grecko’s conduct had breached her obligations as a veterinary surgeon to respect the proper protections that were in place for the control of prescription-only medications.
“She had committed a serious abuse of her position in using the fact that she could obtain medications by virtue of her profession to circumvent the protections.
“She had been prepared to involve others in the course of the conduct. In addition, Mrs Grecko had been prepared to engage in an attempt to conceal her actions and falsify the clinical records in the process.
“Although it was acknowledged that Mrs Grecko may have been subject to some conflicting demands, being affected by her husband’s interests and may have felt a pressure to act, the committee considered that she had completely failed to acknowledge and respect her overriding professional responsibilities.”
The committee then considered the most appropriate sanction for Mrs Grecko, bearing in mind that the purpose of such sanctions was not to punish, but to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession as a whole.
The committee considered that the disgraceful conduct was very serious, when taking into account the abuse of position and pre-meditated and dishonest conduct.
“The committee further found that the previous adverse findings against Mrs Grecko from 2011, which involved misconduct of a very similar nature, meant that they could not accept her argument that she had learnt her lesson, and also meant that, in the committee’s judgement, she presented a significant risk of further repeated errors of judgement and dishonest conduct.
Mr Morris added: “Further, the committee considered that members of the public would be very concerned to learn that, having once been reprimanded for her previous dishonest conduct, Mrs Grecko had repeated her behaviour.
“It [the committee] concluded that this rendered Mrs Grecko’s disgraceful conduct in a professional respect incompatible with continued registration and no lesser sanction than removal from the register would be sufficient to protect the wider public interest in maintaining public confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper professional standards.”
Mrs Grecko now has 28 days from being informed of her removal from the register to lodge an appeal.
The full findings of the disciplinary committee can be found at the RCVS’s website.