Mandatory Notification Requirements – Veterinary Surgeons South Australia

Posted on 17 September 2021
By Tegan Carrison, Executive Director, AAPi

The Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia has written to AAPi to pass on information regarding mandatory reporting obligations as per the Veterinary Practice Act 2003 (SA)

Under this Act, psychologists who treat or who have treated Veterinary Surgeons who are considered medically unfit to provide veterinary treatment are required to report this to the Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia via a written report that sets out their reasons for that opinion and any other information required by the regulations. Failing to do so can result in a large financial penalty for the psychologist.  The information required in this report is the diagnosis, prognosis and what treatment being provided to the patient.   

We understand that psychologists may be concerned about making such a report and be cautious about breaching confidentiality in this way. We would like to reassure you that should you be required to make this report you would be acting in accordance with the Code of Ethics, as long as you only provide the information that is necessary (and nothing more). The current psychology Code of Ethics states a psychologist is permitted to disclose confidential information obtained from a client if required or authorised by law (see A.5.5.). You must however only disclose the information that is necessary to achieve the purpose of the disclosure, and then only to people required to have that information (see A.5.4.).At the time of writing, South Australia is the only state or territory to have a mandatory notification requirement. 


The relevant extracts of the Veterinary Practice Act (SA) are provided below.

59- Obligation to report medical unfitness of veterinary surgeon

  1. If-
    1. A health professional who has treated, or is treating, a patient who is a veterinary surgeon; or
    2. A person who provides veterinary treatment through the instrumentality of a veterinary surgeon, is of the opinion that the veterinary surgeon is or may be medically unfit to provide veterinary treatment, the person must submit a written report to the Board setting out his or her reasons for that opinion and any other information required by the regulations.

    Maximum penalty: $10 000.

  2. The board must cause a report made under this section be investigated.

9 – Prescribed information – health professional’s report as to medical unfitness of a veterinary surgeon

For the purposes of section 59 of the Act, the following information is prescribed in connection with a report made by a health professional:

  1. The diagnosis of the patients medical condition;
  2. The prognosis and likely duration of the patient’s medical condition;
  3. A deception of treatment being received by the patient for the medical condition.