Issue 50 - President's Report


It is important to be informed in a professional life.  It is important to have balance.  

As president of the Board I am always excited by a new issue of Boardtalk as it provides the most reliable and up-to-date source of regulatory information available to the veterinary profession in NSW. 

Our Board must maintain avenues of communication with the profession to ensure that we are all effectively playing by the same rulebook.  Regular visits by our hospital inspector, Glenn Lynch, maintains one of those avenues, as do our regular email updates, but in my veterinary life before I joined the Board, Boardtalk was the go-to resource to begin the process of understanding our legislative responsibilities and answering those spikey regulatory questions.  Over time the accumulated collection of articles has become an outstanding resource, and this edition continues to add to that bank of data.

It should be no surprise that the Board relies heavily on that bank of data in determining the outcomes of complaints.  Along with the veterinary literature, the information disseminated through Boardtalk provides a Swift Parrot, photo courtesy of Dr Mark Simpson cogent basis for the concept of “current standards” in our profession.  It thereby provides an excellent mechanism to ensure that the Board does bring balance to its decision making and this is particularly important when determining Scomplaints.

One of the characteristics of our profession that has always fascinated me has been our robust independence.  It leads to a certain larrikin, maverick nature which I see repeatedly in my colleagues.  In a typically Australian way it leads to a healthy disrespect for authority, particularly when that authority is overly bureaucratic, petty or disengaged. 

I am pleased to report that the structure of the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board has both community representation and veterinarians from a range of roles in the profession, which in my opinion, provide the balance necessary to keep the regulatory environment in NSW relevant to both the profession and the community we serve. 

I particularly enjoyed the contribution of my colleagues from the Northern Tablelands at the Board’s Annual General Meeting.  Their comments reflected an understanding of the topical issues for our profession, both in a regulatory sense and in a wider societal sense.  I look forward to finding ways to further enhance the AGM as an avenue of communication between the Board and the veterinary profession in NSW in the future.

My own clinical work, and the business of running a veterinary practice can sometimes seem overwhelming and I take great pleasure in a number of other interests.  I am a passionate advocate for birds in captivity, and I balance that with my joy at watching them in the wild.  My local area of the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie provides many opportunities for birdwatching. 

Recently I have had the pleasure of observing large flocks of critically endangered Swift Parrots feeding on the Swamp Mahogany about the southern border of Lake Macquarie.  These times provide, for me, an opportunity for quiet reflection and reconnection. 

I encourage all veterinarians to cultivate those other interests which provide balance to the huge responsibility that is our professional life.


Mark Simpson

Photo courtesy of Dr Mark Simpson