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VETERINARY SURGEONS ACT 1936 “An Act relating to the qualifications and registration of veterinary surgeons and the regulation and control of the practice of veterinary science, and for other purposes” Purpose of lecture: To provide an awareness, understanding and knowledge of your legal obligations to the Veterinary Surgeons Act as a registered veterinary surgeon in Queensland. REFERENCE SOURCE Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland web: http://www.vsb.qld.gov.au/ /final year lecture.html - presentation /humanside.html - talking to clients /relationships.html - a practical approach to relationships (clients, vets, Veterinary Surgeons Board) /drugspoisons1996.html - Qld Health requirements /actsofveterinaryscience.html – determinations/interpretations MEANING OF ‘VETERINARY SCIENCE’ “Veterinary science” means the science of veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine. Includes the following: a) diagnosing diseases in, and injuries to, animals, including, for example, testing animals for diagnostic purposes; b) giving advice based on diagnosis under paragraph (a); c) medical or surgical treatment of animals; d) performing surgical operations on animals; e) administering anaesthetics to animals; and f) signing or issuing certificates relating to the description, health, diagnosis or treatment of animals. However, ‘veterinary science’ does not include an act done for animal husbandry or animal dentistry prescribed under a regulation not to be veterinary science. RESTRICTION OF VETERINARY PRACTICE It is an offence for someone who is not a veterinary surgeon to practise veterinary science. Except: If other than for fee or reward (in which case the regulating statutes are the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001; and/or the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996); or When studying or qualifying in veterinary science whilst under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon. PRESCRIBED EXCLUSIONS TO VETERINARY SCIENCE IN QUEENSLAND (NOT UNIFORM ACROSS JURISICTIONS) a) Castrating - 1. Cattle or sheep of less than 6 months; or 2. Goats of less than 2 months; or 3. Pigs of less than 6 weeks; b) Dehorning - 1. Cattle of less than 6 months; or 2. Goats or sheep of less than 3 months; c) Spaying cattle using the Willis dropped ovary technique; d) Tailing sheep of less than 6 months EXCLUDED PROCEDURES (Continued) e) Mulesing sheep of less than 1 year; f) Filing or rasping horses’ teeth; g) Artificial insemination of cattle, deer, goats, pigs or sheep; h) Teaching techniques about pregnancy testing of cattle by a veterinary surgeon to an owner of cattle. Note: Stomach tubing of horses, invasive dental procedures on all species, artificial insemination of a horse, and pregnancy testing of cattle remain acts of veterinary science. (Refer to Web Link – acts of veterinary science) COMPOSITION OF BOARD Nominated by Minister Chairperson – senior veterinary surgeon of state government Deputy-chairperson - veterinary surgeon – academic 2 Members – one of whom is not a veterinary surgeon Elected by veterinary surgeons 2 Members both of whom are veterinary surgeons REQUIREMENT FOR REGISTRATION Registration must be sought in each individual State or Territory in Australia in which it is intended to practise before committing to practice. If intending to practise overseas, registration must first be sought with the relevant overseas registration authority. The awarding of a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree does not in itself entitle the holder to practise veterinary science in any place or circumstance. REGISTRATION PROVIDES Only after registration as a veterinary surgeon is granted is a veterinary graduate legally permitted to: practise veterinary surgery and medicine; obtain, possess, administer, dispense or prescribe restricted and controlled drugs; (Refer Queensland Health hand-out - /drugspoisons1996.html); and gain a licence to use irradiating (x-ray) apparatus for veterinary radiography. Offences are processed through the Magistrates Court judicial system. A veterinary surgeon responsible for employing an unregistered person to practise veterinary science commits an offence with serious penalties. The professional indemnity insurance of an employer may not apply in the event of a claim where a person not a registered veterinary surgeon is the respondent in the claim. HOW TO REGISTER Registration forms are made available to the Head of School office and can be printed from the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland website. Application must be accompanied by two (2) references as to the applicant’s good fame and character and suitability for registration as a veterinary surgeon. (Typically references are sought from course lecturers) Application must be accompanied by proof of identity. Registration is renewable annually at end of calendar year. Pro rata fees for less than a calendar year do not apply but registration issued after 1 November are effective until the end of the following calendar year. PROGRESS TO SPECIALIST REGISTRATION A registered veterinary surgeon is entitled to be registered as a veterinary specialist if the veterinary surgeon satisfies the Board that - a) he or she has gained special skill in the veterinary specialty with respect to which he or she applies to be registered; b) the special skill was gained in practising veterinary science for a period of at least 5 years; and c) he or she is the holder of a degree, diploma or other qualification recognised by regulation that relates to that veterinary specialty. PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT The term ‘misconduct in a professional respect’ cannot be limited to specifics, but the Act recognises some common examples such as - i. Negligence or incompetence in the practice of the profession ii. Addiction to alcohol or drugs iii. Signing in a professional capacity, an incomplete, false or misleading certificate iv. Failure to comply with or contravention of any law with respect to scheduled drugs v. Fraud or deception vi. Conviction of an offence involving cruelty to animals MISCONDUCT (Continued) vii. Conducting a veterinary practice under a business name at premises not approved for the range of veterinary services provided thereat. viii. Failure to comply with conditions of a premises approval and failure to keep premises and equipment in clean and sanitary condition ix. Failure to keep records in the prescribed form x. Directing or allowing a person who is not a veterinary surgeon to practise veterinary science on an animal under the veterinary surgeon’s care QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL (QCAT) QCAT has jurisdiction to conduct disciplinary proceedings involving allegations of professional misconduct by a veterinary surgeon determined by the Board to be of a serious nature. For QCAT proceedings, the tribunal is constituted by – (a) 1 legally qualified member; and (b) 2 members who are veterinary surgeons. Only QCAT has the jurisdiction to order that a veterinary surgeon’s name be removed or suspended from the Register of Veterinary Surgeons. CONTINUING VETERINARY EDUCATION (CVE) CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) 1. Veterinarians are lawfully required to keep a record of all CVE/CPD undertaken; 2. CVE/CPD is not a mandatory condition for renewal of registration to practice; 3. The Board may rely on CVD/CPD records to evaluate competency in the event of a complaint investigation and may seek CVE/CPD undertakings as a result PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CODE OF PRACTICE 1. Ethical behaviour to accord with AVA Code of Professional Conduct. 2. AVA Code of Professional Conduct is not established by statute. 3. The Board may rely on the codes, policies and expertise of the AVA as the peak professional body representing veterinarians in determining standards of practice and conduct. RELATIVE STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITIES Veterinary Premises • Local authority approval required • Board approval required • Minimum standards apply depending on range of services Courtesy Title Doctor • Nothing prevents a registered veterinarian using the title in association with the veterinarian's name and words to indicate the profession of registration eg veterinary surgeon or registrable qualification. Additional Qualifications • Additional qualifications not relative to veterinary science may be used by veterinarians but always after the primary registrable veterinary science degree and post graduate veterinary qualifications. Primary Statutory Responsibilities to: • Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936 • Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 • Radiation Safety Act 1999 (Use and Possession) • The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 ADVERTISING Limited only by the provisions of the Commonwealth ‘Trade Practices Act 1974’ and Queensland ‘Fair Trading Act 1989’ (section 38 – ‘A person shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive’) and AVA ethical guidelines. Veterinary surgeons’ names and qualifications must be displayed at veterinary premises AVA Code of Professional Conduct – Advertising:- must not be false, misleading or deceptive; must not seek personal advantage at the expense of professional colleagues; and must not lower the status of the veterinary profession in the eyes of the public. HARMONISATION NATIONALLY OF REGULATORY STANDARDS The Australasian Veterinary Board Council Inc is established to advise and make recommendations to the Veterinary Surgeons Boards in Australia and New Zealand in relation to- 1. the accreditation of veterinary schools and of courses leading to a degree in veterinary science or medicine; 2. assessment of the suitability for practice in Australia and New Zealand of persons with foreign veterinary qualifications; 3. uniform criteria for recognition of qualifications for registration; 4. provision of advice on matters concerning the occupational regulation of veterinary surgeons, including general and specialist registration; and 5. harmonisation of the standards, regulations and quality assurance of veterinary services provided to the community. The state and territory veterinary boards of Australia, the Veterinary Council of New Zealand, the Australian and New Zealand Veterinary Associations are members of AVBC Inc.
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