A Victorian MP has proposed “veticare” for pets to make care more affordable and accessible to pet owners in need.
According to the Daily Mail, the plan, a play on Medicare but for pets, was proposed by the Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick.
Meddick announced the plan as part of a way to address the country’s vet shortage and subsequent shortage of pet care.
Speaking with the Herald Sun, Meddick said:
“It is resulting in Victorians having to travel up to hours for vet care, or some even not receiving it at all. More and more emergency and after-hours clinics around the state are closing completely. This system will alleviate that stress by establishing publicly funded vet care for companion animals that features a bulk bill and scheduled fee system — exactly the same as our Medicare system.”
Additionally, Meddick proposed the plan would support vet nurses and staff currently working overtime to meet the needs of pet owners across Australia.
According to Yahoo!News, Meddick said: “This won’t just be a win for companion animals and wildlife – but for hardworking vets and vet nursing teams. It means that we can improve access, cost and availability of proper healthcare for animals. Everybody deserves to experience the joy and companionship of an animal – no matter where they live, or how much they earn.”
Veticare would cover expenses related to yearly checkups, injections, minor wound care, and complex surgeries.
The Guardian reports that Bronwyn Orr, President of the Australian Veterinary Association, welcomed the proposal of Veticare but noted that more veterinary staff need to be in place to keep up with the demand, regardless of if Veticare is a success or not.
He said, “It’s all fair and good to have subsidized veterinary care but you actually need to have the veterinarians in place to do that. There’s not been enough investment in the profession and it’s leading to some rural and regional places actually not having any vets at all. If you have subsidized vet care, it’s not much use if you can’t actually get in to see a vet.”
If the plan comes to fruition, it’s possible we’ll see other countries adopt similar measures to support pet owners.