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Consumer Information

Consumers of veterinary services in Australia can be comforted by the fact that registered veterinary practitioners have been awarded the university degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) either by an accredited Australasian University or an accredited overseas university - see Graduates eligible for Full Registration without further examination.

Those graduates, who do not have a qualification from an accredited university but have a veterinary degree, must sit the National Veterinary Exam (NVE).

Details regarding the competencies of Australian graduates and the accreditation of veterinary universities, as documented by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC), can be found here.

Complaints Procedures

Complaints Handling Process

The Board investigates complaints regarding allegations of professional misconduct under Part 5 of the Veterinary Practice Act 2003. The Board has established a Complaints Committee who will perform the investigation and will make a recommendation to the Board, who in turn will make a decision regarding a complaint.

A person making the complaint must complete the Complaint Form (pdf 222kb) and submit it to the Board. The complaint form is also a statutory declaration.

The Board has found that many potential complaints can be resolved if the complainant speaks to the practice Superintendent (senior vet in charge). If that attempt is not satisfactory the complainant then continues with the complaint process.

The Board will only investigate complaints regarding fees charged when an estimate of fees for treatment has not been indicated and agreed by the client.

Other complaints regarding fees should be directed to NSW Department of Fair Trading, click here to view their website.

The Procedure for investigation of Complaints by the Board

  • The letter of complaint is tabled before the Complaints Committee which meets once per month or as required.
  • The letter of complaint is forwarded to the veterinary practitioner(s) concerned.
  • Once the vet has responded to the Board, the Board may make a decision to dismiss the complaint in accordance with the legislation.
  • The Board may forward the veterinary practitioner's response to the complainant and they may make written comment regarding the veterinary practitioner's reply or withdraw the complaint.
  • The committee may particularise the complaint and seek a response from the veterinary practitioner(s) or dismiss the complaint.
  • The practitioner(s) have the opportunity to submit a written response to the Board's particularised complaint OR they can elect to appear before the Complaints Committee for oral representation.
  • The Board or committee may seek expert advice as required.
  • The Complaints Committee makes a recommendation to the Board.
  • The Board makes a decision and both the practitioner and complainant are notified of the decision.

Decision of the Board

The Board may:

  • dismiss the complaint
  • reprimand or caution the veterinary practitioner
  • impose a fine not exceeding $5,000
  • impose conditions on the veterinary practition's registration
  • require the veterinary practitioner to complete a specific educational course
  • require the veterinary practitioner to report on his or her veterinary practice
  • require the veterinary practitioner to seek and take advice in relation to the management of the practice
  • require the veterinary practitioner to pay specified costs relating to the investigation

If the Board is satisfied that the veterinary practitioner is guilty of professional misconduct, it must apply to the Administrative Decision Tribunal (ADT) for a disciplinary finding against the veterinary practitioner (this may include a suspension). The Board may suspend the veterinary practitioner's registration pending the determination of the matter by the ADT.

The Board will notify the complainant of the outcome of the investigation when the matter has been finalised. This may take some months due to the part time nature of the Board. A complainant may have the right to seek action in the civil courts regardless of any action taken during or after an investigation by the Board.

For more information see the relevant section of the legislation.

Complaints and Feedback

The Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW (Board) aims to maintain and improve the quality of the services the Board provides by identifying, addressing and resolving complaints promptly.

If you have a concern or complaint relating to the Board which cannot be resolved by frontline staff

  • send an email to admin@vpb.nsw.gov.au
  • post your correspondence to Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW PO Box 6391 Alexandria NSW 2015
    or
  • fax your correspondence to Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW 02 8338 1077

Information you need to include

Please include the following information in your correspondence:

  • Your name.
  • Your contact details.
  • A short summary of the issue, including any actions by the Board relevant to your complaint.
  • The names (if known) of any Board or Board staff members involved in the issue.
  • The action you are seeking in order to resolve the complaint, and the desired outcome - it is important that you explain this as clearly as possible, to ensure there are no misunderstandings.
  • Any attachments (email attachments, photocopies or faxed documents) that may be of relevance to the issue.

Acknowledgment of receipt of complaint

An acknowledgment of receipt will be issued within two working days from the time a formally submitted complaint is received.

Anonymous complaints

Anonymous complaints will be investigated where sufficient detail is provided to substantiate a valid complaint. However, any investigation may be hampered by our inability to seek further information and details. Also, it is not possible to issue advice on outcomes to a complainant when no contact details have been provided.

Further information

Further information can be obtained from:

The Registrar

Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW

PO Box 6391 Alexandria NSW 2015
Email: registrar@vpb.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 02 8338 1177
Fax: 02 8338 1077

Feedback

One of the key strategies of the Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW is to obtain feedback from our customers, clients and stakeholders to improve service delivery. We welcome your feedback on any matter related to the Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW.

If you wish to supply feedback to us, you can either write to us or send an email: admin@vpb.nsw.gov.au

Feedback regarding website problems

Any feedback with regard to problems you may be experiencing on our website should be submitted via email to cnathan@vpb.nsw.gov.au

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