Veterinary Council has ‘no legal authority’ over ownership of practices

The Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) has clarified its position with regards to ownership and the provision of services to the public.

Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, yesterday, Tuesday, September 24, registrar and CEO of VCI Niamh Muldoon explained: “It remains the role and remit of the council to continue to ensure the highest standards of veterinary medicine in the regulation and management of the professions.

“Historically, it was interpreted that rules prevented a corporate body owning a veterinary practice.

However, legal advice received by the veterinary council advised that the legislation does not speak to the ownership of practices and thus the council has no legal authority in determining such issues.

Muldoon was joined at the hearing by VCI president Peadar O’Scannal.

Continuing, Muldoon explained: “The update to the code by the council on July 11, 2019, reaffirms the provision of veterinary services to the public – performance of which forms part of veterinary medicine.

While there are a number of different challenges facing veterinary practitioners, the council will continue to work to ensure that registrants provide best in-class services.

Concluding, she outlined: “The VCI is the statutory body responsible for the regulation and management of the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing.” However, she outlined: “We have no control over who bills and who gets paid.”