Issue 50 - From the Registrars Desk
Whilst the main operations of the Board focus on registration of veterinarians, licensing of veterinary hospitals and investigation of complaints arguably the most important work for members of the Board is in relation to strategy or development of plans to ensure the achievement of outcomes defined by the Veterinary Practice Act 2003 (Act).
The Act (s 3) has the object of regulating the veterinary profession in NSW for the following purposes:
- To promote the welfare of animals
- To ensure that consumers of veterinary services are well informed as to the competencies required of veterinarians
- To ensure that acceptable standards are required to be met by veterinarians so as to meet the public interest and national and international trade requirements
- To provide public health protection
Just as veterinarians need to ensure they are on the right path to success either personally or in business so does the Board. We must review our plans and policies in the light of changes to the profession, developments in technology, and changes in attitudes and expectations of the public in order to ensure we are still achieving the outcomes defined by the legislation.
It is important therefore that Board strategy and any accompanying policies are clearly aligned with achieving the above outcomes. Policies are vital in that they communicate these plans to Board staff, the veterinary profession, the public and other stakeholders. Importantly, policy enables the Board staff to implement strategy.
In this issue of Boardtalk there are details of revisions to policies and guidelines for hospital licence holders as well as the release of a new guideline for veterinarians in telemedicine. The Board is seeking your opinion on these policies and guidelines before they are implemented.
A shortage of veterinarians?
As noted above, one of the purposes for the Board is to regulate the veterinary profession to promote animal welfare. A shortage of veterinarians has the potential to detrimentally affect animal welfare and the health and welfare of veterinarians.
The Board has a more direct role in assisting with a shortage of veterinarians in three ways.
Firstly, it is possible for a veterinarian who does not possess the qualifications for full registration in NSW to be granted limited registration. Limited registration is granted for a specific purpose including to assist with development of practical skills to pass the National Veterinary Exam (after passing an English test and series of multiple choice questions) or where there is an identified need and no person capable of being granted full registration is available who has the necessary qualifications or experience to fulfill the role.
Limited registration is typically granted with specific conditions, including working under supervision, working only in a specific area and for a specific employer. Limited registration is generally only possible for up to one year.
For further information please review the Board policy Requirements for Limited Registration available from our website (Resources, Policies).
Secondly, the Board is able to assist the profession through data collection and dissemination. This has been limited to some extent in the past due to the lack of some data being collected (for example full time or part time employment) and the Board’s database itself (it was not initially designed for this purpose).
Based on currently available data the Board has recently provided the following publications which may assist further discussion of this issue:
- Where are the new graduates? (see Boardtalk December 2017)
- Number and movement of veterinarians in NSW (2018 AGM presentation)
- Annual Report (see Statistics Section for each year)
The Board has made a number of changes to the database in recent years and is conducting a major revision of the database this year. As a result, more specific information will be available from the Board in the future to assist with workforce planning.
Finally, all veterinary boards have agreed to assist the Australian Veterinary Association with dissemination of the Australian Veterinary Workforce Survey every 2 years and with reporting results from these surveys. This survey was specifically designed to assist universities, the profession and other stakeholders with workforce planning.