Have you ever wondered what to do if you aren’t happy with the actions of your vet? Most people realise that vets have codes of conduct and ethics that they need to adhere to, but how does this work in practice? What happens to a vet if they stray from the correct professional path?
Vets are a “self regulating” profession, like many other professions such as doctors, lawyers and dentists. The phrase “self regulating” does not fit well with twenty first century concepts of fairness and objective justice. It sounds as if vets are allowed to just get on with their own thing, putting their own interests first. After all, how can someone be expected to regulate themselves as firmly as they would be if controlled by an independent third party?
The historical basis behind self regulation is the concept that the professions operate in a market where the consumer can never have full and equal knowledge with the professional. Whereas anyone can see if a grocery product is adequate, if your doctor tells you that some complex test is needed, or your dentist tells you that you need a filling, or your vet tells you that your dog needs an MRI scan, how can you tell? To address this imbalance in the market place, governments need to have a system that forces the professions to adhere to certain standards. And the only people who know enough about a specific profession, in order to be able to understand what’s going on, are members of that profession. Hence the concept of “self regulation”……………………………..