De-bunking the consent myth for vets

De-bunking the myth that vets need to use ‘Consent’ for marketing communications that are aimed at their clients

Consent is one of the most misunderstood elements of GDPR. Misunderstood, because many technology suppliers used by vets are simply misinforming their clients on where, why and how Consent should be deployed.

Sign up – FREE webinar – De-Bunking the Consent myth for vets

The Myth

Consent should be used as the legal basis for sending clients marketing communications, and that vets will need to ask existing clients for their consent to market to them.

The Reality

Consent is just one of six legal bases and is not always the best choice. In the case of marketing to existing clients, ‘Legitimate Interests’ is much more suited to veterinary practice needs.

No to Consent – Avoid needless work

Using consent will require a vet to seek compliant consent from nearly all of the clients on their database. Not only is this work time consuming and costly for the practice, it is unlikely to capture all clients who fail to respond. This means there will be a portion of your database that cannot be sent marketing communications – if you choose to rely on Consent.

What are marketing communications

  • Reminders for vaccinations, boosters and maintaining the administering of other healthcare treatments.
  • Information on animal welfare, like top tips and health checks that can be completed at home.
  • News, promotions and product or service offers.

Yes, to Legitimate Interests – A more useful approach

Legitimate Interest enables practices to send marketing communications to their existing clients. This means that they are not asking for Consent, but can still provide clients with a choice, ensuring they can always opt-out at any time should they wish to.

What is required to use Legitimate Interests

  • The practice will need to complete a Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA) to ensure this legal basis applies to their processing.
  • The data subject must be an existing client or have demonstrated an intention to purchase.
  • Data Subjects should have been provided with an opportunity to opt-out when the data was collected, served with a Fair Processing Notice and given access to the practice’s full Privacy Notice.
  • Marketing communications must be about similar or like products and services.
  • Recipients must be given the opportunity to opt-out in any further marketing communications.

Our Conclusion

We strongly advise vets who ask us ‘the Consent question’ to understand Consent in detail. Practices who blindly follow the advice of suppliers (who appear to be taking the line of least resistance regarding this important aspect of GDPR) will probably suffer significant and un-necessary costs now and over time.

Here are four suggestions on how you might better understand and thus make an informed decision on whether to and then how to rely on Legitimate Interest or Consent.

  1. Sign up for one of our FREE webinars – ‘DeBunking the Consent myth for Vets’ where we’ll explain all this in more detail and answer your specific questions. The webinar is available at three different times over three days.

    Sign up for a FREE webinar

  2. Take the first module of the Connected Vet Academy’s nine-step rout to GDPR compliance for vets, for FREE, now. It’ll introduce you to Consent and the five other legal bases.

    Take the FREE module

  3. Get our GDPR compliant document pack. The only GDPR document pack that has been specifically developed for veterinary practices. It’s got the Legitimate Interests Assessment, Fair Processing and Privacy Notices in there.

    Get our document pack

    FREE diagram - Managing client registration using legitimate interests

  4. Check out our ‘Three routes to GDPR compliance for vets’ PDF. Which outlines three veterinary practice specific routes to maximising your practices’ GDPR compliance.

    Check out our PDF

And finally – Get an expert

Connected Vet really do know what we’re doing when it comes to properly preparing your practice for the 25th May. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Tracy Manning, owner of Hook Vets in Hampshire had to say after we visited.

“I cannot recommend Connected Vet highly enough in providing much needed support and guidance for Veterinary Practices in achieving GDPR compliance.

Right through from the data audit meeting on site and through all email and telephone discussions that follow they make the process as streamlined and easy to understand as possible for the whole team.

In addition, the service represents extremely good value for money and has been an undoubtedly worthwhile investment for my Practice and has saved me any sleepless nights I might have had!”

Guidance from the ICO

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, in her ‘Myth Busting’ blog Consent is not the ‘silver bullet’ for GDPR compliance. says,

‘So let’s be clear. Consent is one way to comply with the GDPR, but it’s not the only way. Headlines about consent often lack context or understanding about all the different lawful bases businesses and organisations will have for processing personal information under the GDPR.’

You can read her whole post HERE.