2017 December - From the Registrar’s Desk


John Baguley, RegistrarWhilst there is a six month difference between the financial year and the calendar year the requirement to finalise documents and submissions for the Annual Report by the end of October and the holding of the AGM in November does bring these two periods into close alignment.  November is therefore a great opportunity for the Board to reflect on the previous year and plan for the year ahead (calendar and financial).

From a financial perspective the Board has now managed to bring its assets back to close to the real values of 2010.  This has been achieved through small increases in fees and some cost control measures.  Fee increases each year aligned with CPI movements are likely to continue in order to allow the Board to maintain the value of its total equity at approximately twice its annual expenditure.  Whilst much of the Board’s expenditure and income is predictable one of least predictable and most costly of expenses is legal fees required for prosecuting complaints and defending Board decisions. 

The Board’s operating activities are largely based around registrations, licences and complaints.  As at 30 June 2017 there were 3784 veterinarians registered in NSW (3593 in 2016) including 163 specialists (154 in 2016).  There were 676 licensed premises or hospitals in NSW as at 30 June 2017 (683 in 2016). 

During the financial year the Board received 72 new complaints and finalised 62 complaints which represents a significant increase from the previous year of 44 new complaints and 37 finalised complaints. Anecdotally the increasing costs of veterinary care, greater scrutiny of the perceived quality of care, the strength of the human-animal bond, and the often significant grief experienced by clients in the face of an adverse outcome all appear to contribute to the decision as to whether to lodge a complaint.

If you would like more information regarding Board finances or operations, including registrations, licensing and complaints, go to the Resources section of the Board’s website.  Descriptive statistics on these topics for the last financial year are available in the 2017 Annual Report and trends in registration, licensing and complaints are available from the Statistics page.

This is now my fifth year with the Board but until recently all other staff members had been with the Board for 10 years or more.  In June I noted that Clare Nathan planned to leave the Board in a few months.  Clare developed the electronic database of veterinarians and hospitals and her programming and IT skills have been vital to the continuous improvement of Board operations.  Melanie Robson, who some will recall as the Coordinator of Extramural Placements for the Veterinary School at the University of Sydney, moved into Clare’s role in August and her wealth of knowledge in database management and exceptional administrative skills have allowed the Board to maintain its program of continuous improvement. 

It has been a privilege to serve the Board for another year.  Looking forward I am reminded of the three year term for each Board and how quickly this time passes.  In July 2018 the Governor, on the advice of the Minister, will appoint a new Board which will be the third from the time I joined.  I am confident that those Board members who choose to stay on and those who are offered the opportunity to be part of the new Board will ensure the collective wisdom of Board decisions continues into the future.

Finally, this is also an opportunity to thank the Board members, and staff members Mary, Glenn, Clare, Des and Melanie for their valuable contributions to the work of the Board during this past financial and calendar year.

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas.

John Baguley