WHILE deregulation of veterinary services may be seen as the answer to the current veterinarian shortage, the Australian Veterinary Association believes improving regulation to include all members of the veterinary team, such as veterinary nurses is one to the strategies needed to address the challenges facing the sector.
“Rather than lowering standards of animal care to fill the gap left by too few veterinarians, we should be looking at how best to extend quality veterinary care to all animals. Strong regulation, whether it is the veterinary or animal welfare legislation, underpins animal care and welfare,” explained AVA NSW Division President, Dr Zachary Lederhose.
There has been a rash of producer concern expressed in recent Beef Central reader comments on articles relating to the decline in veterinary services in the bush, such as this article – Country vet shortage growing concern for farmers.
In its submission to the NSW Parliament Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the veterinary workforce shortage, the AVA says that current regulation is too focused solely on veterinarians, and needs to be expanded to the whole veterinary team.
“Veterinarians are governed by a strong professional and ethical code equivalent to that of the medical profession, and their expertise and judgment underpin the community obligation to the health and welfare of animals and the maintenance of public safety,” Dr Lederhose stated.
The AVA also believes that extending regulation to other members of the veterinary practice workforce, such as veterinary nurses should be part of the response.
“Registration of other members of the veterinary team would increase the capacity and efficiency of the workforce by setting professional standards for working under the oversight of veterinarians,” Dr Lederhose said.
The AVA is confident that the veterinary shortage can be addressed.
“We are hopeful that outcomes of this inquiry will lead to strategies that will make NSW a sought-after destination for veterinarians, and also act as a pilot for how this issue could be addressed at a national level,” Dr Lederhose added.
Source: Australian Veterinary Association