Concerns about a vet

On this page:
If you have concerns about a vet
Information on raising concerns with us
Notify us of a concern

Our role is to protect the public interest by ensuring veterinarians are competent to practise. One way we do this is by looking into notifications and complaints when they are raised with us.


All vets have to meet these professional standards, and work to the Code of Professional Conduct.

If you believe that your veterinarian hasn’t met the expected standards, or if you are concerned about something that has happened, we would recommend contacting the veterinarian, practice manager or clinic to talk things over.

The treating veterinarian is the best placed to discuss the treatment and care that has been provided to your animal.

Before you meet or contact the vet, it might be helpful to:

  • write down the issues and points you want to talk about
  • take a friend or family member for support.

If you don’t feel like you can address the issue in person, you might want to write to the practice outlining your concerns.

Veterinarians must respond to complaints in a timely, honest and constructive manner.

 

Raising concerns with us


If you are a member of the public and you have concerns about a veterinarian, you can raise these concerns with us.


We can look into concerns about individual veterinarians, including:

  • breaches of professional standards
  • concerns about the competence of a veterinarian
  • health issues that may affect a veterinarian’s ability to work.

In order for us to consider your concerns, you will need to put them in writing, name a veterinarian, and provide us with your contact details.

It is helpful if you provide as much relevant information as possible, include a copy of the clinical records and any communication or correspondence you have had with the veterinarian.

You need to know that the information you provide (including your name) will be disclosed to the veterinarian as part of the complaints process. This is because our processes are governed by the principles of natural justice and the Privacy Act 1993.  

We aren’t usually able to consider anonymous notifications. However, if you have concerns about this, please get in contact with us.

What we can't help with

There are a few things we normally can’t help with, such as:

  • Financial disputes including requests for refunds or compensation.
  • Concerns about pricing. Veterinary clinics are free to set own prices.
  • Concerns about a veterinary clinic. We don’t regulate clinics or veterinary support staff.
  • Employment matters.
  • Historic issues. Matters older than 2 years are harder to investigate.

We aren’t able to consider complaints about fees or costs. If you are seeking a refund, you can consider contacting the Disputes Tribunal.

How we deal with concerns and notifications

Once we have had an opportunity to review the information you have provided, we will get in contact to discuss what the next steps will be.

We have two processes for addressing concerns. These are:

Notification Review Group (NRG):

  • Triages and screens notifications to identify areas of concern and to see if further action is required.
  • Can provide educational advice to the veterinarian.
  • Can refer to Council if there are concerns about health or competence.
  • Can recommend referral to a Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) if there are serious concerns about conduct.
  • Target completion time is 4 months.
  • Consists of three veterinarians and a layperson.


Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC):

  • A formal complaints process.
  • Suited to considering serious concerns about conduct or competence.
  • Can conduct a formal investigation.
  • Can make recommendations to Council or lay a disciplinary charge.
  • Target completion time is 6-9 months.
  • Consists of two veterinarians and a layperson.

For more information on these processes, please see below:

 

Notify us


You can fill out our online notification form here.


Once we receive your form, we will take some time to review the information and then be in contact. We won’t take any action without talking to you first.

If you do have any questions, or if you would like to talk things over, you can get in touch with us at complaints@vetcouncil.org.nz.