The Australian Veterinary Medical Association has called for an urgent review into the current way veterinarians are treated when dealing with people with mental health issues.
The association’s president Dr Sue Mottram said mental health patients should not be treated like the elderly.
“The majority of people who have mental health problems are not people with dementia or other mental health conditions,” Dr Mottrum said.
“They are not frail or demented and it’s very difficult to be a good carer when you are not physically able to work.”
Dr Mottra said some veterinarians were taking advantage of the issue by taking care of people in their care without being aware of the mental health issue.
“It’s a real problem when we have patients that are in the care of a licensed veterinarian, a person who is a registered veterinary practice, who is not fully informed of the issues and needs to make sure they are being well cared for,” Dr Wessel said.
“If you’re a licensed veterinary practice that is aware of that, and you’ve got a patient that is coming into your clinic, then there’s a pretty good chance they are not getting the care they need.”
The AMA has been calling for an independent review of how veterinarians and other health care professionals are treated.
Dr Mettra said it was a complex issue that required a more nuanced approach.
“I would love to see a holistic approach to mental health and that’s something that I think is desperately needed,” she said.
“I think it’s a very difficult and complex issue.
There are many facets to it, but that’s the most important thing.”
The AMA will hold its first meeting of the year on July 12.