The recent decision by the RCVS disciplinary committee to strike a vet off over out-of-hours (OOH) provision means the debate raises its head again.
If you offer OOH and have inpatients what do you decide if a client requests a home visit if you are the only vet on?
Do you know RCVS guidelines? What are your practices guidelines? And most importantly are the two compatible and workable?
I’m afraid I don’t have any answers. The provision of OOH currently seems to be explored through individual cases through the disciplinary committee (DC).
Is it time to reflect on how our profession can provide a service fit for purpose for clients and colleagues?
We often follow human medical standards, but in this instance there does not appear to be an applicable model. The NHS is a national standardised network of OOH cover, providing four-tier access to treatment. Of course, this is funded by National Insurance and, as such, is not replicable within current private animal care.
Dentistry is often our equivalent, with a mix of NHS and private care. However OOH provision is patchy and appears to be related to a patient’s registration with a practice. Something we are not bound by.
So where to turn? Local, accessible OOH care is essential to ensuring animal health and preventing suffering. Can we provide hospital-based and home visit care 24 hours a day at a cost accessible for the majority of clients?