Veterinarians must act reasonably to protect their clients' privacy and communicate in a way that educates and empowers their clients to make informed decisions about their animals.
Veterinarians must interact with clients in a way that promotes effective communication and trust. This includes:
- listening to clients, respecting their views, responding to their concerns and preferences and treating them with courtesy
- not exploiting a client's lack of veterinary knowledge
- treating all client information and information related to the provision of veterinary services as the private information of the client except in circumstances where:
Understanding section 1
Veterinarians must obtain the client's informed consent before proceeding with a proposed treatment or course of action, including post-mortems. This includes:
- making sure clients have enough relevant information to make an informed choice about treatment options
- giving clients the information they need in a way they can understand
- checking clients' understanding of the information, and ensuring they have the ability and authority to give informed consent
- ensuring the informed consent process is adequately documented.
Understanding section 2
Veterinarians must respect clients' rights to:
- use the services of more than one veterinarian
- seek a second opinion or referral
- decline or choose an alternate course of action to the one recommended by the veterinarian, provided the animal's welfare is not compromised.
Understanding section 3
Veterinarians are not obliged to accept new clients, continue to provide services to existing clients, or provide a requested treatment, providing animal welfare and professional standards are met.
Understanding section 4