Can mobile vets operate?
Can vets do housecalls or site visits?
A veterinary practitioner may enter a client's premises to provide veterinary services. This is allowed under the current Stay Safe Directions Section 7(2)(c).
Mobile veterinary practitioners who use their vehicle predominantly as a workplace must have a COVIDSafe Plan (the Chief Health Officer's Workplace Directions define a work premises as the premises of an employer in which work is undertaken, including any vehicle whilst being used for work purposes).
When visiting a client's premises, veterinary practitioners must take the preventative measures specified in the Workplace Directions e.g. any face covering rules currently in place, density quotient, record-keeping. Before an appointment is made, it is necessary to establish with a client whether they have any symptoms, or are in isolation or quarantine. Any mobile veterinary practitioner who has symptoms must follow the instructions for suspected COVID cases in the Workplace Directions.
The Workplace Directions are just minimum requirements. Mobile veterinary practitioners should exercise their professional judgement about any other measures they might take when visiting client premises to see patients, e.g. use of PPE.
If a client who is isolating and sick insists there is no way to treat a sick animal other than attend the premises, call the coronavirus hotline (1800 675 398). Current Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts directions sub-clause 8(2)(c) specifies that persons in self-isolation and self-quarantine, 'must not permit any other person to enter the premises unless' that other person: lives there; is required to self-isolate or self-quarantine at the same premises; needs to enter for medical or emergency purposes; is a disability worker who needs to enter to provide a disability service to a person with a disability; needs to enter to provide personal care or household assistance to a person as a result of that person's age, disability or chronic health condition; or is required or authorised to enter by law.
Where government directions prevent a veterinary practitioner from visiting a person's home, other options include to:
- undertake remote consultations - see the Board's guidance at Remote consultations (telemedicine and assisted-technology consultations)
- after having established a bona fide client relationship, get the client to arrange for someone else who is well, not isolating, and has not been in contact with the person who is sick or isolating, to bring the animal to the clinic and wait outside while you see the animal.
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