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.
The public has a general expectation that they can obtain veterinary services outside of normal business hours in emergency situations.
Neither the Board nor current statutory obligations requires a veterinary practitioner to provide veterinary services outside of normal business hours.
A veterinary practitioner may recommend remotely delivered support services, such as telemedicine, to manage an owner’s after-hours enquiries.
During establishment of a VOA relationship, the Board expects veterinary practitioners to clearly communicate the availability and extent of veterinary services they provide outside of business hours.
A veterinary practitioner should inform the owner of the advantages, disadvantages and costs associated with the available options.
If the veterinary facility with whom the owner has an established VOA relationship is not available when the owner decides that their animal requires attention, the owner may choose to attend a different veterinary practice. In such circumstances, the owner and/or the alternative veterinary practice may not have access to the animal’s veterinary medical record. The Board acknowledges that this situation is unavoidable.
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.