Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
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Guideline 6 - Veterinary facilities, equipment and assistance in the provision of veterinary services

This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.

Context to Guideline 6: Veterinary facilities, equipment and assistance in the provision of veterinary services

Veterinary facilities and/or equipment used in the provision of veterinary services are not approved or licensed by the Board. A veterinary practitioner should satisfy themselves that appropriate approval or licensing requirements for a veterinary facility, including mobile veterinary facilities and equipment used in their provision of veterinary services, is current.

A veterinary practitioner providing emergency veterinary services in an adverse environment must take into account how their ability to control the facilities, equipment and assistance is impacted by the situation and make reasonable adjustments without compromising the standard of their provision of veterinary services.

From time to time individuals other than veterinary practitioners may be required to provide assistance in carrying out assessments or procedures. Before accepting such assistance, a veterinary practitioner should consider the individual’s knowledge, skills and capacity to assist in the specific situation.

Where an individual other than a veterinary practitioner uses equipment to support their assistance, a veterinary practitioner must be satisfied that the person is familiar with and instructed in the use of the equipment (including required safety measures associated with its use).

A veterinary practitioner should adopt practices that mitigate cross contamination of veterinary facilities and non-veterinary facilities such as farms, stables and kennels/catteries/animal shelters through storage, handling, and cleaning and disinfecting equipment and facility work surfaces.

Procedures routinely performed in a veterinary clinic, hospital or consulting rooms may be exposed to additional risks when undertaken in a mobile clinic, off site or as part of a house call. A veterinary practitioner should consider how the additional risks may impact the provision of veterinary services and communicate the consequences of this impact to the owner and other relevant individuals before carrying out the procedure.

Professional conduct under this guideline is demonstrated by the following:
6.1 A veterinary practitioner ensures that the environment, equipment and assistance available are appropriate for the veterinary services that they deliver.
6.2 A veterinary practitioner takes reasonable measures to ensure all persons assisting in the provision of veterinary services to an animal in their care have the knowledge, skills and capacity to enable them to perform the relevant activity. 
6.3 A veterinary practitioner takes all reasonable steps to ensure the veterinary facilities in which they consult or perform procedures:
  1. are clean and hygienic at all times
  2. have on prominent display the name, telephone number, days and hours of attendance of the veterinary practitioner in attendance and options for obtaining emergency services outside of normal business hours or other means to provide this information when working from a mobile veterinary facility
  3. have scales to weigh companion and other small animals (where relevant)
  4. have amenities such as lighting, cooling, heating and ventilation appropriate to the facility usage
  5. have hot and cold running water and adequate drainage or access to such amenities equivalent to a facility fixture
  6. have secure, safe and appropriate storage for drugs compliant with requirements under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
  7. have equipment or processes for the safe and appropriate disposal of sharps and clinical waste
  8. have appropriate separation of any area used for the hospitalisation of animals from any area used for surgical procedures involving the opening of a body cavity or orthopaedic procedures
  9. adopt practices that prevent the spread of infectious disease or parasites between animals
  10. use appropriate protocols and products to minimise the introduction of infection to animals.
6.4 A veterinary practitioner must inform the animal’s owner of the limitations and/or additional risks associated with the veterinary facility so their consent to treatment or procedures is fully informed.
A veterinary practitioner must take reasonable steps to ensure that the environment in which they provide veterinary services during an off-site consultation or house call:
  1. is clean and hygienic during the delivery of veterinary services
  2. does not provide significant risk to the safety of the veterinary practitioner, members of the veterinary team or other individuals assisting the veterinary practitioner
  3. is suitable for the treatment or procedures being delivered and has appropriate equipment and amenities
  4. has secure, safe and appropriate storage for drugs compliant with requirements under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
  5. has equipment or processes for the safe and appropriate disposal of sharps and clinical waste
  6. does not impede appropriate biosecurity measures to be implemented (as required).
Where a procedure requires an animal to be under sedation or anaesthesia, a veterinary practitioner remains at the veterinary facility or location where the procedure was carried out and supervises the animal until it is able to stand and walk unaided (except where injury precludes ambulation).
A veterinary practitioner must provide the owner with details of how to access veterinary assistance in the event of unanticipated problems or complications following procedures or treatment. 

Related guidelines

Related legislation

Date of publication
In effect from 1 May 2021.

This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.

While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.