Veterinary Surgeons Board
Annual Report 2012‑13
Requirement for the report
This report is provided in accordance with the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004 and the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Notice 2013 (No. 1).
Functions, aim and goals of the Board
The ACT Veterinary Surgeons Board administers Schedule 12, Veterinary Surgeons, to the Health Professionals Regulation 2004. The Health Professionals Act 2004 charges the Board with responsibility for the registration of appropriately qualified persons as veterinary surgeons and veterinary specialists, enabling them to practise veterinary surgery in the Australian Capital Territory. The Board:
ensures that the interests of the public and the welfare of animals in the ACT are protected
ensures that only properly qualified persons are registered as veterinary surgeons in the ACT
provides advice to government agencies and interest groups
conducts inquiries, as required, to ensure professional standards of practice are met.
Membership of the Board
Dr Kevin Doyle AM
Dr John Aspley Davis
Dr Simon Morris
Dr Roger Meischke
Dr Sarah Webb
Dr Steven Roberts
Ms Eileen Jerga AM
Health Protection Service
All members serve the Board in a personal and honorary capacity.
Meetings of the Board
From 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, the Board met on eight occasions. Meetings were generally held monthly at Howard Florey Centenary House, 25 Mulley Street, Holder.
I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Veterinary Surgeons Board for the year ended 30 June 2013.
The Board previously reported its relocation from the Health Professions Registration Boards to the Health Protection Service (HPS) of the ACT Government Health Directorate, located at Howard Florey Centenary House in Holder. As a result of the relocation, a new database was required. This was developed to allow a better service for registered veterinary surgeons and the Board. The testing of the database was completed in 2012.
The relocation created difficulties for the Board in that some records and corporate memory were lost. In addition, when managed as one of nine health profession boards served by a professional secretariat, the Board had access to resources beyond its part-time registrar/executive officer. This has not been possible within the HPS. While extra resources have been made available, their duties have had to be carried out in addition to their ongoing tasks. It has become clear that a part-time registrar/executive officer is not adequate. The Board agreed at its March 2013 meeting to appoint a full-time registrar. Efforts are being made to ensure that the move of the Board to the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate will provide access to the necessary resources.
The Board reported last year that it was clear that changes must be made to the legislation to update it and to bring it into line with contemporary legislation. This included harmonising it with the legislation of the other jurisdictions and providing for national recognition of veterinary registration (NRVR). The Board supports NRVR and will continue to work on its implementation.
The Board sets high standards for professional competence in order to ensure public protection, which includes supporting and enforcing the mandatory professional indemnity insurance.
The Board has been active in the affairs of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC), on which it is represented by Dr John Aspley Davis. The Board supports AVBC efforts to promote cooperation in strategic planning for the future of registered veterinary surgeons and to help improve veterinary services provided to the community. This year the AVBC conference was held in Cairns.
Dr Steven Roberts was appointed to the Board during the year and provides particular expertise on horses.
My appreciation is extended to all members of the Board for their considerable efforts during the year and over the term of their appointments.
As a result of the review into the ACT Government and the recommendation made in its final report, Governing the City State: One ACT Government—One ACT Public Service, the Board’s secretariat transferred to the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate on 9 July 2013, following the 2013‑14 registration renewal process. The Board thanks the Health Protection Service for its support to the Board.
At 30 June 2013, 261 veterinary surgeons had current registrations in the ACT. The Board continued to process applications for initial registrations and registrations under the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act.
Number of registrants
The Board addressed issues related to the following topics during the year:
- professional standards matters
- recency of practice
- continuing professional development
- national recognition of veterinary registration
- policy review
Complaints and disciplinary action
The Board recognises that many complaints emerge from poor communication between parties about the service to be provided or the service that is provided. This can result in intransigence from both parties in resolving complaints.
In 2012‑13, the Board jointly reviewed the complaint process with the Human Rights Commission and the Government Solicitor’s Office. The Board is pleased to report the success of the revised process. All complaints made to the Board have been processed and the vast majority resolved, with only three complaints ongoing.
The Board investigated a number of complaints or professional standards issues throughout the year.
Matters of significance
National recognition of veterinary registration
The Board supports the process being put in place by the AVBC and Primary Industries Standing Committee to move towards National Recognition of Veterinary Registration (NRVR). Each jurisdiction will retain its own board and legislation but will recognise registration in other jurisdictions as a right to practise in every jurisdiction without further registration. This will achieve mobility of veterinary surgeons between jurisdictions and assist in the aim of achieving consistency of standards. The Board hopes to introduce processes in the next financial year for NRVR in the ACT.
Continuing veterinary professional development
Continuing professional development (CPD) is compulsory in all the ACT health professions. The ACT is among a number of Australian jurisdictions to have compulsory CPD for veterinary surgeons. It is important that all registered veterinary surgeons demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development if they wish to renew their registration.
Australasian Veterinary Boards Council
The annual general meeting of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) was held in Cairns in May 2013. Dr John Aspley Davis is the Board’s representative on the council. There was attendance by representatives and their registrars from the New Zealand Veterinary Council and all state and territory boards. Reports were submitted and discussed on issues concerning registration, uniformity of legislation, the National Veterinary Examination, National Recognition of Veterinary Registration and the accreditation of university undergraduate courses, both in Australia and with those whom we have a mutual recognition agreement—namely, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom. AVBC also accepts graduates who have qualified under the remit of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which includes an increasing number of faculties not on the North American continent, and the South African Veterinary Board. This time, via Skype, all the states and territories signed off on a mutual recognition agreement with South Africa which entitles graduates of Australia and New Zealand to practise there without further examination. Previously, the recognition was only in favour of South African graduates.
The Board is not a territory authority for the purposes of the Financial Management Act 1996 ( see the Financial Management (Territory Authorities) Declaration 2005 (No. 1) ). The Board is self-funding, with account management undertaken by the Health Protection Service as part of its secretariat function. A summary of the Board’s finances is provided for information.
Liaison with Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)
The Board maintains liaison with the AVA to ensure a free exchange of views and information. The AVA provides continuing education, mentoring and other forms of assistance to veterinarians in the ACT. This is particularly important for new graduates.
The Board takes this opportunity to acknowledge the cooperation of the AVA.
The ACT Veterinary Surgeons Board was transferred to the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate on
9 July 2013. Information on the Board can be found at www.tams.act.gov.au/parks-recreation/plants_and_animals/veterinary-surgeons-board.
Dr Kevin Doyle