Veterinary Council of Ireland launches corporate strategy to 2023

The Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) launched its corporate strategy for 2019-2023 in Dublin earlier today, Wednesday, December 11.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed was the guest of honour to officially launch the corporate strategy, which took place in the Oak Room of the Mansion House.

Through the new strategy, the Veterinary Council of Ireland outlined its intentions to work with partner bodies to ensure the development and oversight of the veterinary professions, and to foster best professional practice, in the best interest of animal health and welfare and public health.

The strategic plan will aim to address some of the major issues facing the veterinary sector, according to the council.

The strategic objectives aim to:
  • Lead animal health and welfare in line with One Health, One Welfare initiatives;
  • Maintain confidence of the public and veterinary professions in the VCI processes;
  • Enable good professional practice and professionalism through education;
  • Support the health and well-being of registrants;
  • Support and develop the role of the veterinary nurse;
  • Enhance, influence and inform policy through insightful research and meaningful engagement.

The strategy was developed following a consultation period in 2019 with veterinary registrants, stakeholders and members of the public.

Consultation

As part of this consultation, veterinary registrants were surveyed with regards to their views on the role and responsibilities of the veterinary council; this established a number of key outcomes.

It was noted that 70% of registrant respondents believe that there is a greater role for the VCI in the oversight of veterinary practices. To address this, the VCI said it will strengthen the responsibilities of the holders of Certificates for Suitability for veterinary practice premises, ensuring that full clinical discretion lies with them alone.

The VCI will also increase the use of authorised officer’s inspections to ensure the continued high standards in clinical operations.

In addition, in response to 37% believing the VCI should increase transparency in its processes, the authority outlined its intention to publish summary council minutes and updated governance policies.

The council will also hold fitness to practice inquiries in public, where appropriate.

79% of those surveyed ranked the issue of supporting the mental health and well-being of veterinary practitioners as the most important issue the council needs to address, ranked in comparison to the role of the veterinary nurse and increased collaboration from the VCI.

Aiming to address this in various actions in the coming years, council has also gathered all the contact details for supports available to registrants on the VCI website, and will ensure registrants are aware of well-being supports available to them.

Issues relating to staff retention and shortages in veterinary practice were another topic highlighted by registrants and, while not strictly within the control of the regulator, the VCI said it will seek to assist through research and analysis of data to inform future policy.

Addressing challenges

On the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), VCI aims to increase the emphasis on AMR among the professions through active participation in national AMR initiatives.

The council will promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials and promote responsible antimicrobial prescribing principles in clinical practice through updating its code of professional practice, and providing guidance to practitioners.

Finally, the authority highlighted that it will seek to further embrace the use of technology in its operational processes, and will place further emphasis on the research and analysis of data available, to identify trends in the veterinary professions and inform national policy decisions.

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