Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
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Guideline 11 - Managing conflicts of interest

This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.

Context to Guideline 11: Managing conflicts of interest

A conflict of interest may arise when a veterinary practitioner has financial, professional or private interests or relationships with third parties that may affect, or have the appearance of affecting, the decisions they make about the care and/or treatment of an animal.

To manage a conflict of interest, a veterinary practitioner identifies what, if any, actual or perceived conflict of interest exists and then, through careful consideration, determines a course of action that ensures the conflict does not have an unreasonable influence on their professional judgement.

Conflicts of interest are relevant to the provision of veterinary services associated with certification, accreditation and the provision of an expert opinion. Disclosing an actual or perceived conflict of interest enables the veterinary practitioner, in consultation with an owner, to choose the course of action that limits its influence, including the potential termination of the VOA relationship.

Professional conduct under this guideline is demonstrated by the following:
11.1 A veterinary practitioner takes reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest. Where a conflict of interest cannot be avoided, a veterinary practitioner should declare the conflict to the affected parties and their intended approach to managing the conflict so as to minimise any potentially adverse impact.
11.2 A veterinary practitioner does not seek or accept inducements that may influence their treatment or management decisions away from best practice.
11.3 A veterinary practitioner considers what is in the best interest of an animal when providing treatment or advice on the management of the animal’s wellbeing or when referring the animal and owner to another veterinary practitioner.

Related guidelines

Date of publication
In effect from 1 May 2021.

This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.

While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.