Complaints and notifications

For us to address your concerns, you need to put them in writing. We recommend you call us to talk about this first.
 
You can notify us of your concerns or make a formal complaint.
 
 
What is the difference between a notification and a formal complaint?
 
We have two ways of addressing your concerns. If you make a notification, this is referred to Council's Notification Review Group, a triaging group who review the information to see what needs to happen next. The Notification Review Group can refer to Council or a Complaints Assessment Committee if there are issues.
 
If you make a formal complaint, this is referred to a Complaints Assessment Committee for investigation. This process can take significantly longer.
 
If you have serious concerns about a vet's conduct, this is likely to be a formal complaint. If your concerns are about a vet's competence, this may be better addressed by the Notification Review Group. The Notification Review Group can more quickly refer concerns to Council or reach an educative outcome, which will be helpful for the vet and other clients.
 
If you’re unsure which process is right for you, please call us.
 

A notification: A formal complaint:
may relate to health, competence, or conduct relates to serious conduct issues, or significant breaches of the Code
may be escalated and become a formal complaint results in a formal investigation process and decision, which is provided to Council
generally reaches an outcome within 3 months target completion time is 6-9 months
may be referred to a Complaints Assessment Committee or Council, or recommendations made, if further action is required may lead to disciplinary charges
does not use the word complaint uses the word complaint
is referred to the Notification Review Group (NRG) is referred to a Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC)
 
The Notification Review Group: The Complaints Assessment Committee:
is a triaging group which assesses notifications to see if referral is needed is Council's committee that investigates formal complaints
is made up of three vets and one layperson is made up of two vets and one layperson
screens notifications to identify areas of concern, and can refer matters to a Complaints Assessment Committee if it identifies significant issues or if a formal investigation is needed takes longer to consider than a notification and may involve interviewing the parties
can make recommendations to a vet on how to improve their practice, which are followed up by Council can make recommendations to a vet on how to improve their practice, which are followed up by Council
can refer to Council if there are health or competence concerns can refer to Council on competence or health grounds at any stage during the investigation
can close with no further action. can recommend to Council that conditions be placed on a vet's practice
can recommend mediation between the parties
can lay disciplinary charges (in the most serious of cases)
can close with no further action.

How do I make a complaint or notify you about a vet?
 
You need to complete this form and send it to us. (You'll need to print the form). Make sure you attach any supporting information (eg clinical records).
 
You need to name the vet you are concerned about. We can't look at concerns about:

  • an unnamed vet
  • a clinic in general
  • staff who work in vet clinics but aren't vets.

The vet's name should be on your animal's clinical records. Sending us a copy of these is helpful.
 
We'll give a copy of what you tell us to the vet (they have a right to respond to your concerns). Please bear this in mind when completing the form.
 
Email your completed form to: info@vetcouncil.org.nz with 'Concerns about my vet' in the subject line. This will make sure it gets to the right place.
 
Or post to:
Deputy Registrar (Legal)
PO Box 10 563
Wellington 6143
 
 
What happens next?
 
We'll email you to acknowledge that we've received your form, and let you know about next steps. We may need to ask you for more information.
 
For more information about the Notification Review Group and the Complaints Assessment Committee, visit our committees page.