Vets: Serious concern over changes to ‘ownership of practices’ and impact on animal health

Veterinary Ireland has voiced serious concerns in respect of recent and what it describes as “very significant changes” by the Veterinary Council of Ireland to the ‘Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Practitioners’.

It says that the changes specifically relate to the ownership of veterinary practices and the practice of veterinary medicine.

Veterinary Ireland says that the Veterinary Council of Ireland made these changes “unilaterally – without any consultation with stakeholders”.

Veterinary Ireland says that it is concerned that these changes are contrary to the Veterinary Practice Act 2005. It also contends that the changes will have a significant impact on animal health and welfare, as well as a wider impact for the veterinary profession.

Veterinary Ireland has now sought urgent clarification from the Veterinary Council of Ireland on the meaning and implications of a new provision in the code. It is considering a legal challenge if it is apparent that the Veterinary Council intends to apply a change – a move it says would be at odds with the Veterinary Practice Act 2005.

Veterinary Ireland has also written to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the recent “changes” made by the Veterinary Council of Ireland to the so-called ‘Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Practitioners’.

According to Veterinary Ireland, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is responsible for the conduct of the Veterinary Council of Ireland. The association also says that it is also his remit to decide the policy by which the Veterinary Council of Ireland regulates the wider veterinary profession.

Veterinary Ireland has called on the minister to intervene. It says that such intervention is needed “in order to ensure that veterinary services to the public and agri-food sectors are maintained nationwide and on a 24/7 basis“.

The changes over which Veterinary Ireland has voiced its concerns are chiefly believed to relate to how veterinary practices are owned (i.e. who or what entities can own such practices). It says that the changes could lead to scenarios that will ultimately impact on the service provided to customers – including farmers.

For more on this developing story, watch this space…

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