Issue 50 - From the Hospital Inspector’s car
The Board requires evidence that veterinarians have complied with the Veterinary practitioners code of professional conduct (Code) (clause 16) which states:
16 Fees for veterinary services
A veterinary practitioner must, where it is practicable to do so and before providing veterinary services in relation to an animal, inform the person responsible for the care of the animal of:
(a) the likely extent and outcome of the veterinary services, and
(b) the estimated cost of those services.
The vast majority of veterinary hospitals and mobile practices already comply with this provision by recording the estimate for the veterinary service (the evidence), either on a consent form or within the history, so this is business as usual for them.
It is well recognised that estimates for some veterinary services are difficult to provide given the variables which may exist. In some cases a ‘dollar range’ should be provided or, an estimate to a certain point of the treatment with further updates to the person responsible for the care of the animal, so they can decide if they wish to continue.
Whenever these updates are provided (usually by telephone), the date and time the call was made, the person’s name they spoke to, discussions around options, consents and estimates must be recorded to ensure the practitioner has evidence of compliance with the Code.
It is important that practice owners and superintendents inform all veterinary practitioners and nurses who may be involved in this process of the requirement to provide estimates and maintain evidence of this process where practicable (a topic for staff meetings).
Hospital licence requirements
As mentioned in this newsletter, over the last few months, the following documents have been reviewed and we are seeking input from the profession.
- Assessment of Veterinary Hospital Licences
- Minimum Requirements for Veterinary Hospitals
- Self Assessment Checklist for Veterinary Hospital Superintendents
Once these documents have been ratified, they will form the basis of current standards and the profession will be notified.
When I inspect a practice, the first question I shall be asking is ‘did you download these documents from the Board’s website and have you conducted your own self assessment’?
I’m hopeful the answer will be yes!