Fitness to Practise Application FAQs


 

The only procedure available to the Council for dealing with complaints is the holding of an Inquiry into the fitness to practise veterinary medicine / nursing by a veterinary practitioner or veterinary nurse (registered person). If you wish to apply for an Inquiry, you should be aware that this will involve your attendance at an oral Inquiry at which you will be required to give evidence before the Fitness to Practise Committee. An application for an Inquiry in relation to a registered person must be made in writing to the Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Ireland.  An application form may be found at the following link:

http://www.vci.ie/Complaints-Procedures

Completed application forms should be returned to the Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Ireland along with all relevant documentation.

You may make an application for an Inquiry in respect of a registered practitioner / nurse.

Under section 76 of the Veterinary Practice Act 2005 there are four grounds under which you may apply to the Registrar for an Inquiry into the fitness to practise of a registered person as follows:

 

  1. Professional misconduct

  2. Unfitness to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine / nursing by reason of physical or mental disability

  3. That the registration of the registered person is erroneous due to a false or fraudulent declaration or misrepresentation, or

  4. The registered person has failed to comply with any provision of the Veterinary Practice Act 2005 or any regulations made under it.

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. 

Yes, when an application for Inquiry is received and before a decision is made by the Preliminary Investigation Committee as to whether the matter merits an Inquiry, the veterinary practitioner or veterinary nurse in respect of whom the application has been made is given the opportunity to see the application and respond.  

Probably not. Disputes in respect of fees are unlikely to be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee unless there is say an element of misconduct in connection with the charging of fees.

When all the details relating to the application for Inquiry have been received and the registered person in respect of whom the application has been made has had the opportunity to respond, the application is then forwarded to the Preliminary Investigation Committee for consideration as to whether the Inquiry should proceed in whole or in part.  Decisions concerning applications are dealt with within approximately eight months from the date of receipt of the application. 

We will write to inform you as to whether or not the application will lead to a Fitness to Practise Inquiry within approximately eight months of receipt of the application.

No, you may appeal the decision of the Council to the Circuit Court within three months.  This may require you to instruct a solicitor to act for you in presenting the case in court.

No, but depending on the outcome of the Inquiry, the Council may determine that the costs and expenses incurred by you in relation to the Inquiry are paid by the registered person or that fees paid to the registered person by you are partially or wholly repaid.  No compensation or damages are payable as a result of an Inquiry.