Professional misconduct is defined for the purposes of section 76 of the Act (as amended) as follows:
“Professional misconduct” in relation to a registered person, means any act, omission or pattern of conduct that
a) is connected with the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary nursing and represents a serious falling short of the standard that could reasonably be expected of a registered person,
b) is infamous or disgraceful in a professional respect (notwithstanding that, if the same or like act, omission or pattern of conduct were committed by a member of another profession it would not be professional misconduct in respect of that profession), or
c) involves fraud or dishonesty of a nature or degree which bears on the carrying on of the profession of a registered person.
It is important to note that this is not mere negligence.
Yes, professional misconduct is different from negligence. Negligence arises when a registered person has failed to exercise the normal level of skill and judgement which would be expected of the average registered person, consequent on which damage is suffered. Allegations of negligence are typically matters for adjudication by the civil courts and the Veterinary Council has no power to usurp the Courts’ jurisdiction in this respect or to award damages or compensation in respect of negligence claims. It may be the case that in some rare circumstances, negligence and professional misconduct overlap where for example the negligence has been so gross as to amount to a serious falling short and therefore professional misconduct.