In a recent letter to the AVA and the NSW, VIC, WA & TAS Vet Boards, we have proposed telemedicine as a potential solution for sheep farmers wishing to access NumOcaine for their flock. A telemedicine solution, with appropriate record-keeping, would reduce the need for repeated vet-farmer meetings, helping to keep both parties safe from COVID-19. Veterinary services are considered an ‘essential service’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current AVA recommendation is that vets should “consider forms of remote service (telemedicine) where appropriate, to reduce gatherings at their place of business and reduce the spread of COVID-19“.
We believe that telemedicine is a practical and cost-effective method for both parties to maintain a bona fide relationship and is a justifiable tool to used in circumstances where it is difficult to meet face to face. Vet telemedicine provides an efficient and cost-effective first step for vets to build farmer relationships, which are desperately lacking in many parts of rural Australia.
From the picture we are distilling, having read numerous sets of guidelines from each state Vet board and the AVA, it appears the professional bodies are in favour of telemedicine. Their focus is to protect genuine, practising vets from a situation where a vet (possibly working on behalf of a drug company) dispenses hundreds of prescriptions via telemedicine, from a central location with no meaningful connection with the client.
So, if you are a genuine practising vet (all of whom we believe will be reading this!) with a real connection to farmers and farming, this is a practical tool you may be able to use (in conjunction with record keeping).
Helping you with Record Keeping
See attached Word .doc template checklist and table created to help you keep you records around NumOcaine dispensing.
Vet Board Guidelines by State
Below we have gathered the latest for states who have developed a position on telemedicine (including through apps such as Phone A Vet), either in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic or more generally.
Please note: It is extremely important you are adequately and properly informed – please check directly with your state or territory veterinary board if you are unsure of anything or would like further guidance.