What is the role of the Veterinary Surgeons Board?The Board aims to protect consumers by maintaining a high standard of veterinary practice within the state. The Board also maintains the registers of veterinary surgeons and veterinary specialists. All veterinary surgeons must be registered with the Board to practice in SA. You should contact the Registrar to discuss your request.
Can I complain about fees charged by a veterinary surgeon? Fees are not regulated in Australia, though most veterinary surgeons charge within a range for their services. You can only lodge a notification about the fees charged if they significantly exceed the quotation you received for the service.
What about payment of accounts - can I lodge a notification about collecting payment? No - veterinary surgeons generally require payment for their services at the time service is provided. This is consistent with other health service providers. Some veterinary surgeons will be willing to send an account; you should always discuss payment with the veterinary surgeon before the service is provided. Some veterinary surgeons will be prepared to make arrangements for payment of fees over time. This is up to individual veterinary surgeon, and these arrangements are negotiated on a case by case basis.
Can a veterinary surgeon refuse to provide a service? Yes. Veterinary surgeons can refuse to see your animal - though there is usually a reason for this. However, a veterinary surgeon should not refuse to see an animal if it is an emergency situation. In these circumstances, as a minimum, the veterinary surgeon should ensure the animal is provided with pain relief. It may be that the veterinary surgeon has to refer the animal on for further treatment.
Can I lodge a notification about the treatment given to my animal? Yes. You can complete a Notification form (see the Forms page of this site). You may prefer to discuss your concern with the Registrar first; telephone the office on (08) 8359 3334.
Can I lodge a notification about the conduct of the veterinary surgeon? Yes. All veterinary surgeons should provide a professional service. Disagreements may occur however. You should discuss your concern with the Registrar in the first instance.
Who owns the clinical records for my pet? The veterinary surgeon does: but a copy of your records should be provided to you on your request. You may be asked to pay a photocopying charge. X-rays are not provided however. These remain the property of the veterinary surgeons clinic.
What about a second opinion? You can get a second opinion on your pet. You do not need a referral from your treating veterinary surgeon. In these circumstances, the treating veterinary surgeon should provide a copy of the clinical records (including any X-rays), to the veterinary surgeon providing the second opinion.