Protecting Veterinarians in Australia since 2006
Join the VDA and get advice, support and affordable insurance, tailor-made for your profession!
The VDA is a non-commercial association of veterinarians that look after the interests of veterinarians and animal owners. Each member query, notification or case is managed by trained members of the panel experienced in complaints analysis, claims prevention and management. The VDA protects the integrity and reputation of its members by defending members and by compensating owners where appropriate.
The VDA offers members advice and guidance, ADR, veterinary board registration defence, malpractice insurance cover, personal and business insurance cover as well as representation at veterinary board or malpractice hearings and trials. VDA Australia is the only professional veterinary defence organisation in Australia.
VDA Australia headquarters are situated in Gosford, NSW. Office hours:
Call our 24/7 Helpline: 02 8355 9900
VDA membership offers everything that the mere insurance companies endorsed by the national veterinary association offer plus more, including:
- Management of incidents, events and disputes as they arise in day-to-day practice.
- Advice and guidance provided by dedicated specially trained experienced veterinarians.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution with owners with compensation for owners when the veterinarian failed to meet minimum professional standards.
- Management of the defence of complaints and claims from the time they arise until these are concluded, ensuring that you are in the best position to defend yourself.
- Assistance with composing certificates, reports and responses.
- Complaint preventive measures in the form of consent forms, model certificates, record keeping, Bulletins dealing with best defensive practice and Notices regarding issues of direct and immediate importance to members.
- A weekly newsletter (Barks ‘n Bytes) in which actual cases defended by the VDA are discussed and analysed.
- A monthly webinar, commencing soon, which discusses medical topics with a veterinary defence theme.
I have been a member of the VDA almost since its inception, and since 2005 in Australia. They have given me great advice and have put a great reply together for a litigious client at the board .
It is fantastic to have such an organisation to back us up and help represent and protect us from vicious clients and a board that often doesn’t see the ordinary practitioners side.
I have certainly slept better knowing we have this
Organisation to back us up
I have been a member of the VDA for the last 6 years. I joined them because the advice and assistance from Guild insurance and the AVA mediation service was less than satisfactory when dealing with an unhappy client and less than supportive practice. Guild took 6 weeks to get back to me with legal advice concerning the case (irrespective of numerous follow up calls requesting the information), which is way too long when you have an unhappy client! I have found the VDA to be very good and prompt with their advice. They allow you to head off situations before they blow out of control. My only complaint is they are a little slow with their reminders for payment of the insurance portion of their coverage. I would not practice without them backing me up.
I have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with 2 different veterinary boards and I found neither of them to be approachable or friendly. Unfortunately I have found the boards and veterinary associations to be extremely unfriendly organizations with little concern for anything other than their perceived view of the profession. My experience is that in becoming a veterinarian I was to lose my protection provided by the constitution. Thank goodness for the VDA. The VDA provided me with the support and assistance I needed to defend these cases effectively. A complaint made by a client in anger is likely to be a burden around your neck for an extended period of time and I was very grateful for the assistance I was provided by the VDA. The VDA has provided me with an ongoing newletter with case histories that have been dealt with over the years and this has led to me being able to reduce my insurance requirements because I practice defensively and become a better veterinarian. Unfortunately there are people out there who will abuse the motivation you had to become a veterinarian, however, the VDA serves to protect you when this realationship sours.
Our practice has been using VDA for the last 5 years. We have found them a great help. If we have any legal, regulatory or ethical questions an answer is just a email or phone call away. They have helped resolve a couple of client issues, either by advising on appropriate wording or action, or acting as a third party to mediate a complaint. They were continually supportive and helpful in my one Veterinary Board complaint (which was eventually dismissed by the Board as a malicious complaint) but which also involved a racing authority inquiry and a civil court case all of which dragged on for more than a year. The VDA helped me write letters and statements, and advised me on how to deal with tribunal hearings and court days…all for their one yearly fee!
I don’t think you could get this sort of help from an insurer.
Purports to provide better value PI insurance because they will “defend” you and help you manage board complaints. If you go on VIN there is an interesting discussion with the founder David Carser which is very anti-board (us vs them). Be aware when you join that they roll over membership for another 12 months and if you wish to resign your membership you must apply for their resignation form two months before the end of the financial year. Could work on their client communication skills – ie the way they handled me as a client doesn’t give me much faith in their ability to handle cranky clients. In retrospect, if you are covered by your practice PI, AVA has a good mediation service to help handle complaints and in my experience, if you are a competent practitioner, the Boards are reasonable and not stressful to deal with (except that it takes time). All up they are not much cheaper than Guild and I’m not convinced that practicing defensive medicine is always good medicine. There is *a lot* of paperwork and correspondence attached to being a member which is annoying if you are a busy practitioner.