Vets may challenge new rules to allow non vets own practices

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

New rules which would allow veterinary practices to be owned by non vets could face a legal challenge by Veterinary Ireland, the body representing vets in Ireland.

The Veterinary Council of Ireland, which regulates the veterinary profession in Ireland, recently ammended its Code of Professional Conduct to allow non vets, including limited companies, to own veterinary practices, according to Veterinary Ireland.

However, Veterinary Ireland, the association that represents the majority of practising vets in Ireland, has said that the changes were made unilaterally, without consulting stakeholders.

It's understood that a number of veterinary practices in Ireland have been approached in recent months by investment companies.

Veterinary Ireland said it has serious concerns in respect of the changes relating to the ownership of veterinary practices and the practice of veterinary medicine.

It says the changes are contrary to the Veterinary Practice Act 2005 and about the impact that these changes would have for animal health and welfare, as well as the impact for the veterinary profession.

Veterinary Ireland has sought clarification from the Veterinary Council of Ireland on the meaning and implications of a new provision in the Code, and is considering a legal challenge if it is apparent that the Veterinary Council intends to apply a change contrary to the Veterinary Practice Act 2005, Veterinary Ireland said in a statement today.

It has also written to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the recent unilateral changes made by the Veterinary Council of Ireland to the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Practitioners.

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It has has called on the Minister to intervene in order to ensure that veterinary services to the public and agri-food sector are maintained nationwide and on a 24/7 basis.

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