Thursday, 19 March 2009

Marc under fire for undercover report

Did you watch Tonight: Pets Undercover on ITV this week? Click here to watch it on I-player.
In my opinion it was indicative of what is wrong with ITV generally. It was very light on the research and missed a real opportunity to do something more significant. A very low IQ production.
For example, their USP was taking a healthy cat, dog and rabbit to a few vets and claiming it was off its food and then reporting that shock horror, some vets actually listened to the apparently worried owners and decided it may be worth looking to see if there was actually something wrong and charging the owner to look.
And then as their control measure we had the blue scrubs-clad Marc Abraham (the new KC veterinary spokesman and ex-Paul O'Grady vet) checking all three animals and giving them a clean bill of health.
Now how exactly was that a control?
Marc wasn't presented with a pet owner who apparently genuinely thought there was something wrong with their pet. He wasn't given the same 'facts' to work with. He had an expectation of the animals being healthy.
I don't know about you, but I want a vet that listens and explores my hunches. How few of us go to the vet if we don't strongly suspect something is up?
And then that very unscientific item rolled into a much more serious issue of a genuinely bad vet that had been struck off and later reinstated after retraining. We all know the RCVS disciplinary system is a bit toothless and a proper investigation into other cases like these may have made a much better documentary, but the treatment of this subject was just sadly wafer thin.
The show did touch on the fact that vet drug pricing is all over the shop and you can save a fortune on-line. But they didn't tackle the disparity between what a practise charges for a prescription you take away to fill elsewhere. And they didn't touch on the fact that while some vets will give you a six-month script for long term medication and others insist on only giving monthly scripts so you have to pay six times for the same thing and perhaps also have to front up for extra consults, too. Those on heart or epilepsy meds without adequate pet insurance can really struggle financially as the monthly bills are already horrendous.
But that wasn't the point they were making. In fact what was the point that they were trying to make, that vets can't be trusted? Did they prove that? And what precisely does that achieve?
Marc Abraham is coming under a lot of criticism from the vet profession, his blog has a tremendous number of comments already and most of them are from other vets - although there are one or two people patting him on the back but they are in the minority. Here's his latest statement on the programme.
Let's be charitable, perhaps Marc didn't realise how shoddy the show was going to be when he agreed to take part. But he should be media savvy, he has an agent, he's courted the media and he's been very, very critical of other TV documentaries - most notably Pedigree Dogs Exposed. He called it an, "horrific and incredibly one-sided documentary." Hmmm? How ironic.

2 comments:

Mina said...

Yes, I'd like a vet who listens to me please.

I was not really believed when I said that my dog's claws were falling off until it happened right in front of the vet herself.

Then a few years later when he started collapsing and they didn't know why and thought I was worrying over nothing - turned out he was fainting through lack of oxygen due to a dodgy heart valve (knowing that would have stopped me taking him to the hydrotherapy that killed him) I'd rather pay and pay and pay to find out nothing is wrong rather than have someone say there's nothing wrong when there is.

It even took me a long time to get Fred's xrays because I was so sure there was something wrong with him.

jo siemieniowski said...

I truly believe that some vets charge more, and are not as good as other vets, my old vet Mr G wanted to charge me for zaks prescription of keppra every month at the charge of £12,35 per script. per month, which puts a lot of the cost onto me as zak is only insured for £2000 per year, and his keppra cannot be bought through a vet, as it is a human drug, so fed up with increasing vet costs i changed to another vet, not only did my new vet Mr D charge me less for the script a six month one for the keppra at the cost of £7.00 for 6 months, but on checking the records for the last two years, Mr G had been charging me £70.00 for local blood testing and NOT for liver testing (due to the meds that can cause liver damage!) so the blood test were completly useless! zak now has a yearly liver test. to make sure that all the meds he is on will be seen if the liver changes. I was fuming when i found this out! I have been paying in excess of £200. per month for his keppra and other drugs to keep his epilepsy under control. I recon my old vet need to go back to vet school,