Veterinary Council of Ireland publishes new Codes of Professional Conduct for veterinary practitioners and nurses

The Veterinary Council of Ireland, the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the practise of veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing in the public interest and in the interests of animal health and welfare, is pleased to announce the publication of its new Codes of Professional Conduct for veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses, which will come into effect on 28th January.

The revised Code of Professional Conduct for veterinary practitioners will consist of 8 chapters of binding guidance, based on the values at the core of the veterinary professions, while the revised Code of Professional Conduct for veterinary nurses will consist of 6 chapters. 

The VCI’s new Codes of Professional Conduct for veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses are focused around the following values:

  • Maintaining public trust and confidence in the veterinary professions by acting with integrity in all interactions
  • Providing competent and appropriate veterinary care
  • Enhancing animal health and welfare
  • Promoting measures to protect public health, animal health and welfare in society, the environment, and food supply
  • Demonstrating respect, fairness and co-operation towards clients, colleagues and society
  • Communicating effectively with clients, colleagues, team members and the public, recognising their wishes, ensuring adequate consent, and protecting confidentiality
  • Having respect for our own health and wellbeing, and that of our colleagues

Additionally, the Code of Conduct for veterinary practitioners also includes chapters based on the additional principles of:

  • Acting prudently to ensure the responsible use of medicinal products in animals 
  • Upholding the integrity of veterinary certification

Niamh Muldoon, CEO and Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Ireland, said “We are pleased to present the revised and updated Codes of Professional Conduct, which have been a significant and important piece of work for the Council over the past 18 months. Our revised Codes of Professional Conduct promote animal health and welfare, recognising the importance of the role played by the veterinary professions in public health and animal welfare for society in Ireland.

The Codes were enriched by the strong engagement received as part of our public consultation process, and we thank all those who took part in the consultation process on the new codes, including veterinary professionals, stakeholders and members of the public alike.”

The new codes were created following the first complete and substantial review undertaken of the VCI’s Codes of Professional Conduct in ten years. The creation of the new codes involved the establishment of a Working Group within the VCI, as well as the activation of a comprehensive consultation process with registrants and stakeholders, which included focus groups, three separate surveys for members of the public, other stakeholders, veterinary practitioners, and veterinary nurses.

As part of the consultation process, the VCI also hosted a successful focus group event comprised of several representatives of stakeholder organisations from across the agricultural and veterinary industries to discuss key sections of the codes of conduct.

The Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Practitioners also offers definitions of terms contained in the EU Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2019.6 to support the prudent use of animal medicines in Ireland.

The new Codes of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Practitioners and Veterinary Nurses can be accessed on the Veterinary Council of Ireland website.

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