Rules

RULES RELATING TO THE PRACTISING OF VETERINARY PROFESSIONS

INDEX OF RULES

Subject and Rule

Definitions

Part I

Services pertaining specially to veterinary professions

Part II

Conduct of persons practising veterinary professions

Part III

Advertising

Part IV

Vehicles

Part V

Minimum standards for veterinary facilities

Part VI

Minimum standards for mobile services

Part VII Minimum standards for house/farm calls
Part VIII Minimum standards for hospitals
Part IX Procedure at inquiries into professional conduct
Part X General

Definitions

1.Unless the context otherwise indicate, words and phrases in these rules shall have the meaning assigned thereto in the Act, and-

"Act" means the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act, 1982 (Act No.19 of 1982), and the regulations made thereunder;

"advertisement" means any form of communication in the media or any other visual of verbal announcement by a veterinary professional or veterinary group, whether paid for or not, which is intended to be read, heard or seen by members of the public with a view to direct attention to the services provided by such veterinary professional or veterinary group;

"animal hospital" means a veterinary facility where veterinary services are available at all times and wherein examination, diagnostic, prophylactic, medical, surgical and extended accommodation services for hospitalised animals are provided;

"animal transport vehicle" means a mobile facility equipped to safely transport animals;

"complaint" means a complaint, charge or allegation of unprofessional, improper or disgraceful conduct against a respondent;

"house or farm call" means when a veterinary professional leaves his/her base to render a basic medical and/or surgical service to his/her clients in a vehicle suitably equipped for that type of practice;

"investigation committee" means a committee of the council acting under powers delegated to by the council in terms of section 12 of the Act to investigate complaints;

"inquiry body" means a committee of the Council acting under powers delegated to it by the Council in terms of section 12 of the Act to preside at inquiries;

"logo" means any object or figure being a symbolic representation presented in a professional manner and used as a mark of recognition or distinguishing token;

" medicine" means a medicine or veterinary medicine as defined in section 1 of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act, 1965 (Act No.101 of 1965).

"mobile animal service" means a clinical veterinary practice which may be transported or moved from one location to another for the rendering of a restricted range of medical or surgical services in a vehicle modified to function as a veterinary practice facility;

"products" mean veterinary and animal related products;

"respondent" means a person registered in terms of the Act against whom a complaint, charge or allegation of unprofessional, improper or disgraceful conduct has been lodged;

"veterinary facility" means a facility at or from which a person practises a veterinary profession;

"veterinary services at all times" does not necessarily mean that the facility must be manned by a veterinary professional at all times. The person on duty may be a registered veterinary nurse or another adequately trained person;

"veterinary professional" means a person practising a veterinary profession as a veterinarian or veterinary specialist; and

"veterinary group" for the purposes of advertising means any representative group recognised by the Council. The Council shall on application recognise any group of veterinary professionals formed in terms of a memorandum of association and regulated by a constitution, representing at least 50% (fifty) plus 1 (one) of all registered veterinary professionals within a clearly defined geographical area or within a special veterinary field.

PART I: SERVICES PERTAINING SPECIALLY TO VETERINARY PROFESSIONS

General Services

2. For the purposes of the Act -

(a) the diagnosis, treatment, prevention of, or advice on a disease, physiological or pathological condition in an animal;

(b) a surgical or dental operation or procedure on an animal; and

(c) the prescribing or administration of medicine to an animal;

shall be deemed to be services which pertain specially to a veterinary profession.

Exceptions in respect of certain physiological and pathological conditions

3. The provisions of rule 2(a) shall not be construed so as to prohibit an appropriately qualified person to diagnose or treat a physiological or pathological condition in an animal, which is caused by malnutrition.

PART II: CONDUCT OF PERSONS PRACTISING VETERINARY PROFESSIONS

General principles

4.(1) A veterinary professional shall base his/her personal and professional conduct thereon that -

(a) he/she is a member of a learned and honourable profession and is required to act at all times in such a manner as will maintain and promote the prestige, honour, dignity and interests of the profession and of the persons by whom it is practised;

(b) he/she is morally obliged to serve the public to the best of his/her ability and in the light of the latest scientific knowledge;

(c) he/she will not seek any personal advantage at the expense of any colleague in the profession;

(d) he/she will not permit himself/herself to be exploited in a manner which may be detrimental to an animal, his/her client, the public or the profession; and

(e) he/she shall, as far as it is within his/her professional ability -

(i) not refuse treatment to an animal; and

(ii) not abandon the treatment of an animal under his/her professional care unless he/she is satisfied that he/she has done his/her utmost to safeguard the welfare of the animal concerned.

(2) A veterinary professional shall keep himself/herself informed of the laws which affect him/her in the practising of his/her profession and shall, as far as it lies in his/her power, assist in the application of those laws.

(3) All persons practising veterinary professions are working for the same good cause, irrespective whether they are in private practise or in the service of an employer, and they shall therefore co-operate with each other and the authorities concerned to promote that cause.

(4) A person who practises a veterinary profession shall refrain from expressing any criticism in public through which the reputation, status or practise of a colleague in the profession is or could be undermined or injured, or through which a reflection is or could be cast on the probity, skill, methods or conduct of such colleague.

(5) The place at or from which a person practises a veterinary profession shall comply with the applicable minimum standards for a consulting room, or an animal hospital, as the case may be, which are specified in these Rules, and be registered with Council.

Issuing of certificates

5.(1)Certificates or other documents, which are issued by veterinary professionals in their professional capacity, shall contain facts and not any particulars based on hearsay.

(2)     A veterinary professional shall only certify those matters of which -

(a)     he/she has personal knowledge;

(b)    can be ascertained by him/her personally; or

(c)    are the subject of a supporting certificate from another veterinary professional who has personal knowledge of the matters in question and is authorised to provide such a supporting document.

(3)    The certificate referred to in rule 5 (1) shall -

(a) be prepared with care and accuracy;

(b) be legible;

(c) be unambiguous and easy to understand;

(d) be produced on one sheet of paper or, where more than one page is required, shall be indivisible; and

(e) contain dates that are written in words.

(4) All certificates thus issued shall indicate -

(a) The name and residential address of the owner of the animal concerned;

(b) The address of the premises where the animal is kept;

(c) The breed, sex, colour and age of the animal;

(d) Any positive identification of the animal such as tattoo numbers, microchips and body markings where possible;

(e) The purpose for which the animal is certified (e.g. hacking, racing, etc); and

(f) The date of issue of the certificate as well as the date of examination of the animal must appear on the certificate; and

(g) For vaccination certificates the following are also required -

(i) The batch number or date of manufacture of the vaccine which has been used; and

(ii) The date of vaccination of the animal concerned.

(5) Any certificate or other document which is issued in a professional capacity by a veterinary professional, shall be signed by such a veterinary professional personally.

(6) When signing a certificate, a veterinary professional shall ensure that -

(a) he/she signs and completes any manuscript portions in ink;

(b) the certificate contains no deletions, other than those, which are indicated on the face of the certificate to be permissible, and subject to such deletions being initialled by the certifying veterinary professional;

(c) the certificate bears not only his/her signature but also, in clear lettering, his/her name, qualifications and address and, where applicable his/her official or practice stamp; and

(d) no blank spaces are left on any certificates.

(7) Students may not sign certificates.

(8) An official translation of a certificate must be supplied when requested.

(9) Copies of certificates issued by a veterinary professional must be retained for a minimum period of three years.

(10) Original certificates should always be issued.

(11) When required, a facsimile of a certificate will be acceptable provided that a witness is available to verify the contents of the facsimile (e.g. in court). The certifying veterinary professional must retain the original certificate.

(12) Certificates should not require veterinary professionals to certify that there has been compliance with the laws of some other country, unless the provisions of the law are set out clearly on the certificate.

(13) A veterinary professional should not issue certificates with regard to his/her own animals.

Acceptance and payment of commission

6.(1) Subject to rule 6 (2) a veterinary professional shall not -

(a) pay or offer any commission to any person as a consideration for clients that are referred to the veterinary professional, by such person;

(b) accept any commission from any person as a consideration for referrals of any clients by such veterinary professional to such person;

(c) share with any person, fees charged for a service unless -

(i) such sharing is commensurate with the extent of such other person's participation in the rendering of the service concerned; or

1.

(ii) he/she is a veterinary professional associated with the veterinary professional as a partner, shareholder, employee or locum tenens; and

(d) charge or accept any fee for the examination of an animal from both the buyer and the seller of that animal or both the insurer and the owner of that animal.

(2) The provisions of rule 6 (1) shall not be so construed as to prohibit a veterinary professional -

(a) from paying to a debt collection agency any commission in respect of debts which are collected by such agency on his/her behalf; or

(b) from accepting any royalty or similar compensation in respect of an article or product to which he/she holds the patent rights.

Canvassing and touting

7.(1) Nothing in these rules shall be construed as authorising a veterinary professional to canvass or tout, directly or indirectly, for work commonly performed by a veterinary professional.

(2) For purposes of rule 7(1) a veterinary professional will be deemed to be canvassing or touting for work, but not limited thereto, if he/she -

(a) approaches a person who is not a client with a view to persuade such a person to make use of his/her professional services;

(b) solicits custom or work directly from any person;

(c) with a view to attract clients, grants or undertakes to grant any person, firm, association or other body, a discount on the fee usually charged for a service;

(d) makes unsolicited visits or telephone calls or sends unsolicited letters or printed material to any person, with a view to establishing a professional relationship with such a person; or

(e) enters into an arrangement with any person, whether employee or not, for the introduction of a client to his/her practice; but this will not apply to any arrangement between a veterinary professional and another veterinary professional for the referral of work in the normal course of either's practice.

(3) the provisions of rule 7(1) and 7(2) shall however not be construed so as to prohibit a veterinary professional -

(a) from directing letters or printed material to a person to whom he/she has rendered professional services during the preceding three years, or to colleagues in the profession; Provided that such letters or printed material shall be contained in an envelope on which the names and addresses of persons to whom it is directed appears; and

(b) from delivering a lecture or speech or publishing any report, interview or article or permitting the publication thereof in a bona fide attempt to save animals in a specific area during an emergency situation.

Covering

8.(1) A veterinary professional shall not -

(a) enter into a partnership in his/her practice with another person;

(b) offer a professional appointment in his/her practice to another person;

(c) employ another person in a professional capacity at his/her practice; or

(d) share his/her waiting and consulting rooms with another person;

unless such other person is also registered or deemed to be registered in terms of the Act to practise a veterinary or a para-veterinary profession, as the case may be.

(2) Subject to rule 8 (3) a veterinary professional shall not -

(a) place his/her professional knowledge at the disposal of a member of the public or a lay organisation; or

(b) be involved in co-operation or collaboration with a member of the public or a lay organisation;

if unlawful or irregular practices are or may be encouraged thereby or it may adversely affect a veterinary profession.

(3) The provisions of rule 8 (2) shall not be so construed as to prohibit a veterinary professional from rendering assistance under the circumstances concerned to a member of the public or a lay organisation in an emergency in order to save a life or to prevent suffering: Provided that the person concerned shall as soon as possible thereafter notify the Council in writing of the relevant circumstances.

Second opinion

9.(1) If a client of a veterinary professional, requires a second opinion on the condition of an animal being treated by a veterinary professional, such veterinary professional shall -

(a) assist the client with the choice of and arrangements with a colleague in the profession to furnish the required second opinion; and

(b) furnish the colleague concerned with complete records of the animal concerned, and state the reasons for requesting such second opinion.

(2) A veterinary professional shall only request a second opinion on the condition of an animal being treated by him/her if the client agrees thereto.

(3) A person from whom a second opinion has been requested in terms of rule 9 (1) or 9(2) shall furnish his/her findings to both the client and the colleague concerned.

(4) A person who has furnished a second opinion, shall subject to rule 11(d), only attend to the animal concerned at the invitation of or with the consent of the person by whom that animal is being treated.

Use of veterinary medicine

10(1) Whenever a veterinary professional, administers medicine to an animal or prescribes the administering thereof, he/she shall satisfy himself that the administering thereof is justified with due allowance for the benefits and risks which that medicine may hold for -

(a) the animal to which it is administered;

(b) the person by whom it is administered; and

(c) the consumer of the products of that animal if residues of the medicine concerned should be present in those products.

(2) A veterinary professional shall inform the owner of an animal to which medicine is administered, fully with regard to -

(a) the application and effect of and precautionary measures in connection with that medicine; and

(b) the period, if any, during which the products of that animal are to be withheld from human consumption.

Supersession

11. A veterinary professional shall not examine or treat any animal currently being treated by a colleague in the profession, or advise the owner of such animal on the diagnosis or treatment of that animal unless -

(a) he/she is in terms of rule 9 requested to furnish a second opinion on the condition of the animal concerned;

(b) he/she is unaware of the fact that a colleague is treating the animal concerned;

(c) the colleague concerned agrees that the veterinary professional may take over the treatment of the animal concerned; or

(d) the client/owner of the animal concerned has requested the veterinary professional to take over the treatment of the animal concerned, in which case, such veterinary professional shall notify the colleague concerned thereof as soon as possible; or

(e) he/she applies emergency treatment on the animal concerned, in which case -

(i) the veterinary professional shall ascertain beforehand that the colleague concerned is not available to apply such emergency treatment; and

(ii) the veterinary professional shall notify the colleague concerned of the nature and extent of the emergency treatment applied.

Intrusion

12.(1) If a veterinary professional has obtained any confidential information regarding the nature and extent of the practice of a colleague in the profession, such veterinary professional shall not use that information to promote his/her own practice.

(2) If a veterinary professional, renders professional services to an employer on a part-time basis, he/she shall not use his/her connection with such employer in any manner whatsoever to promote his/her own practice at the expense of those of his/her colleagues in the profession.

Professional secrecy

13.(1) A veterinary professional shall treat all information obtained by him/her in the course of the practise of his/her profession, and which relates to an animal, as strictly confidential, irrespective whether that information has been obtained as a result of the examination, diagnosis or treatment of that animal, or has been disclosed to him/her by another person.

(2) Information referred to in rule 13(1) -

(a) may subject to the provisions of rule 13 (2)(b) and 13(2)(c) only be revealed to another person with the consent of the owner of the animal concerned;

(b) shall be revealed by the person concerned if he/she is directed thereto by a court, or is obliged thereto under some or other law; and

(c) may be revealed by the person concerned if he/she is of opinion that the public interest outweighs his/her obligation to the owner of the animal concerned.

Approximate fees

14.(1) A veterinary professional shall inform the person in charge of an animal in respect of which a service is to be rendered beforehand of the approximate fee which he/she intends to charge for such service -

(a) when so requested by the person in charge of the animal;

(b) when such fee exceeds the fee usually charged for such service; and

(c) when a service is required in addition to the original service anticipated.

(2) Any veterinary professional claiming payment from a person in respect of any service rendered by him/her shall furnish such person with a detailed account within 30 days after being so requested by such person.

(3) A person who has been so furnished with such detailed account may, in writing, apply to the Council to determine the amount which, in the opinion of the Council, should have been charged in respect of the service to which the account relates.

(4) The Council shall, as soon as possible after receipt of such application, afford the person who furnished the account concerned the opportunity to submit to the Council in writing his/her case in support of the amount charged.

(5) The Council shall, after consideration of the case, determine the amount that in its should have been charged for the service to which the account related and notify the applicant and the person who furnished the account thereof in writing.

(6) The Council's decision is final.

PART III ADVERTISING

Advertising

15.(1) A veterinary professional may advertise his/her services, products and facilities or permit another person to do so without limitation on the size, format, artistic or literary style: Provided that the advertisement complies with the provisions of these rules and shall in no way compromise or impair any of the following, namely -

(a) the client’s freedom to consult a veterinary professional of his/her choice; and

(b) the good reputation of the veterinary profession.

(2) All advertising by a veterinary professional shall be in good taste with regard to content, prominence and medium and may not be offensive to any cultural, religious or linguistic community or be contrary to the spirit of the code of conduct of the veterinary profession.

(3) Subject to the provisions of rule 15(7) and 15 (8) the content of an advertisement shall be limited to -

(a) a description of -

(i) the nature of the services rendered; and

(ii) the products, merchandise and foodstuffs stocked and sold;

(b) the address at which such services are rendered and the products, merchandise and foodstuffs sold;

(c) the times the services are provided;

(d) the name of the veterinary professional concerned; and

(e) a logo.

(4) An advertisement describing a specific veterinary animal care service direct to the public shall contain the telephone number of the veterinary professional concerned as well as information regarding emergency and out-of-hours service.

(5) A veterinary group, however, may advertise without any limitation on the content of an advertisement subject to the requirements of rule 15(7): Provided that the advertisement concerned has the approval of the majority of its members.

(6) The responsibility for ensuring that a group advertisement complies with the standards required by these rules shall be borne by the Chairman or President, and executive committee of the group and in all other cases by the veterinary professional submitting the advertisement.

(7) Advertisements shall not -

(a) be misleading in any respect;

(b) compare the quality of services, products, merchandise and/or foodstuffs provided, the standards of facilities and/or the knowledge or expertise of a veterinary professional with that of another veterinary professional or the veterinary profession generally, nor may it claim to be superior in any respect;

(c) criticise the quality of services, products, merchandise and/or foodstuffs provided by another veterinary professional; and

(d) have fees and incentives as the subject of any advertisement. Prices of products, merchandise and foodstuffs sold and non-professional services rendered at the veterinary facility may, however, be advertised.

(8) No veterinary professional other than a specialist registered as such with the Council may claim that he/she is a specialist or an expert in a particular field in any advertisement.

(9) A veterinary professional may advertise that he/she has a particular interest in a certain species, organ or discipline: Provided that the advertisement indicates that the veterinary professional is a general practitioner with such a particular interest.

(10) A veterinary professional shall not collude with any person to ensure that his/her advertisement appears adjacent to an article and/or advertorial published by such person if the said article and/or advertorial would be in contravention of these rules if published by a veterinary professional.

(11) If a veterinary professional is identified in any way in an article, then an advertisement by such veterinary professional may not appear on the same page as the article.

Promotion of products and services

16.(1) Subject to rule 16 (2) the name of a veterinary professional shall not in any manner whatsoever, whether direct or indirect, be used –

(a) as part of the name of any business or organisation;

(b) in appeals to the public for contributions in aid of animal welfare;

(c) in an advertisement to promote an article or a product which is or may be used in connection with the practising of a veterinary profession or a para-veterinary profession or the feeding, treatment or care of animals;

(d) in an advertisement in connection with any place at which animals are sold or boarded, or is owned, controlled or managed by himself or another person; or

(e) in an advertisement in connection with any business or trade in which he/she has an interest or is employed in a capacity other than as a veterinary professional, if it is used thus in conjunction with his/her professional title or qualifications or his/her professional address or telephone number.

(2) The provisions of rule 16 (1) shall not be so construed as to prohibit -

(a) a veterinary professional from promoting a particular product or service in a bona fide attempt to save animals in a specific area during an emergency situation;

(b) a veterinary professional who signs a letter regarding a veterinary matter on behalf of his/her employer, from indicating his/her professional title and qualifications with his/her signature; or

(c) a veterinary professional from stating his/her name and professional title and qualifications in a document which is required in terms of the Companies Act (Act No.19 of 1973), in respect of a company of which he/she is a director; or

(d) the use of separate advertising boards that indicate products stocked or used by the veterinary professional at his/her registered veterinary facility. Provided that such boards shall not contain the name of the veterinary professional or name of the registered veterinary facility or any other words that are misleading, confusing or conveying a false perception to the public or that may be construed as endorsement of such a product.

Articles and Editorials

17. A veterinary professional is allowed to state his/her name, qualifications and his/her capacity in articles or editorials published in the printed media. However, the address, telephone numbers and/or name of the veterinary facility from which the veterinary professional practises may not appear in such an article or editorial.

Name-plates at veterinary facilities

18.(1) Subject to rule 18 (3) it shall be permissible to display one nameplate for each veterinary professional at each veterinary facility where he/she practices his/her profession.

(2) A nameplate, which is displayed in terms of rule 18 (1), shall -

(a) not be larger than 350mm by 250mm;

(b) contain only an indication of the name, professional title, and qualifications recorded in the register, of the person concerned; and

(c) be displayed -

(i)    next to the main entrance door to the veterinary facility of the person concerned; or

(ii)    at the main entrance of the building in which the veterinary facility concerned is situated; or

(iii) next to the main entrance gate to the premises on which the veterinary facility concerned is situated.

(3) If the veterinary facility of a veterinary professional is situated in a building which is shared with other occupiers, the Council may, on application by such veterinary professional, approve that the nameplate be displayed in the manners referred to in rule 18 (2)(c)(i), (ii) and (iii).

(4) If -

(a) a veterinary professional, takes over the practice of a colleague in the profession; or

(b) a partner in a practice dies or retires;

the nameplate of the predecessor or deceased or retired partner may be displayed at the veterinary facility of the practice concerned for a period not exceeding six months after the date of take-over, death or retirement, as the case may be: Provided that in the case of take-over, the words "successor to" shall be added before the name of the predecessor concerned on his/her name-plate of the person who has taken over the practice concerned shall be displayed immediately above that of his/her predecessor.

Continue to part 2 of Vet Rules