The Minister of State for National Development(MND), Tan Kiat How, said in Parliament, on March 2, 2022, that the Singapore authorities are exploring ideas to advance the standards and practices for the veterinary sector, including the possible establishment of a professional body to regulate vet practices. He said that MND is consulting vets, vet paraprofessionals and vet service users regarding the possible set-up of a professional body to regulate veterinary practice. More details will be shared when ready. This initiative is part of a wider review by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) and the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA) to raise professionalism across the pet sector.
We welcome this news for our pawkids in Singapore as we do feel that there is a need to improve vet practices. We have ourselves encountered a few unfortunate vet incidents. In fact, just recently, we experienced a vet, at a hospital, who was very impatient with our questions even though she barely spent 5 minutes in total on our case; and the answer is NO if you are wondering if the hospital at that time was dealing with a lot of patients or emergencies all round! This and our past experiences as well as unfortunate stories of other pawrents have gotten us thinking about what we can do to help push for higher standards in the vet industry. Whilst the authorities’ initiatives will be important to ensure there is a stronger regulatory framework and enforcement in place, the impact will be subject to long investigation timeline and limited by cases that are reported. Perhaps, a more community driven, more accessible and faster solution can complement regulatory enforcements.
Here’s what we think….
Our doggos are our kids and our dearest friends so we expect no less of vets and vet industry for our pawkids than medical doctors and medical industry for human.
We understand that a distinctive challenge of keeping vets and vet industry accountable is that, unlike our children and friends who can tell us about their experiences with the doctors and health workers treating them, our doggos can’t. Our doggos depend on us and the vets entirely, to do the right thing for them. And as pawrents, we want to trust our vets for their professional knowledge and practice.
We also believe most vets want to do good for our doggos and are subject to occasional human errors too; just like medical doctors. We don’t want to over-penalise a good vet over a one time mistake, and neither do we want to let irresponsible vets continue with their malpractices. We also want to continuously acknowledge good responsible vets and let them thrive so more doggos get better healthcare. Whilst we value the consumer type of reviews we see on e-commerce sites, we want to go beyond the initial consumer experience to seek out the quality of the vet practice.
How do we do that? We believe a data driven approach will help to distinguish good vets against bad ones. We need to be able to aggregate data about specific vet practices, share that, and let pawrents decide if it is a vet they would trust their doggos with. For instance, wouldn’t it be helpful if we know the number of doggos with post treatment complications, by a particular vet? Or wouldn't it be helpful if we can compare the prices of consultation, procedures and prescriptions? Over time, we can objectively look at the track record of vets and make informed decisions about whether we would let this vet treat our pawkids.
Do you know of a solution that helps pawrents record their pets’ medical history and aggregates the data to inform the pawrent community? If you have ideas, feedback, and suggestions on how we can better drive up the quality of vet practices, we would like to hear from you. Do contact us here!
In the meantime, do keep records of your pets medical history: vet consultations, vet names, diagnosis, course of action, recovery progress, prescriptions, invoices, service experience, etc. with date and time. Share your stories of vet encounters on social media or with your community of doggo pawrents. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share it on our blog; just like we have shared our own bad vet experiences in our blog about Ah Bee’s tragic death that led to Dr Donna’s petition for regulation of vet practices.