Jurisdiction of Council
The Veterinary Surgeons’ Act places squarely upon the profession itself the responsibility for ensuring the maintenance of proper levels of professional conduct by giving Council the power to hold enquiries into allegations of misconduct or incompetence and to take disciplinary action.
- Council may hold enquiries into allegations of unethical, improper or disgraceful conduct or professional incompetence.
- These enquiries usually follow complaints from the public, clients or other veterinarians.
- Council will initially investigate the complaint by obtaining written statement from the parties concerned and any other relevant sources.
- If, in the opinion of Council, the initial investigations adequately answer the complaint, the matter is considered resolved and the parties informed of this.
- In cases that are not resolved or where the complaint is of a more serious nature, Council invariably seeks the opinion of its Legal Advisor. It may then be necessary to hold a full enquiry into the case and the veterinarian concerned is then required to appear before Council. The complaint may be resolved at this stage and a penalty imposed.
- In those cases that are sufficiently serious, Council’s legal advisor will draw up a formal charge of misconduct which is considered at a formal hearing. It is obligatory for Council’s legal advisor to be present at this hearing and the veterinarian concerned may be represented by his own legal advisor.
- At the conclusion of this hearing, Council may find the veterinarian guilty of improper or disgraceful conduct or incompetence.
Any breach of the Veterinary Surgeons (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 1974, is by definition, misconduct. Most of these pertain to actions such as advertising, signage, stationery, touting, improper certification, supersession, professional reputation and the obstruction of Council.