RCVS further extends remote prescribing guidance
Temporary guidance that currently allows veterinary surgeons to remotely prescribe prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs) has been extended to 1 November 2020 with additional safeguards.
The new motion, laid out at a recent meeting of RCVS Council, states that remote prescribing 'should only be carried out by veterinary surgeons who can provide a 24/7 follow-up service involving physical examination, plus or minus further investigation if required'.
It also states that such a follow-up service ‘can be provided personally by the veterinary surgeon or practice, or by written agreement with a veterinary services provider which is local to the client (as with the current situation for [out-of-hours] care provision)’.
Temporary guidance on remote prescribing was originally introduced in March in response to the Government's lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Since then, the guidance had been extended several times to reflect the changing circumstances and government guidance surrounding the pandemic.
On Thursday (8 October), a review of the temporary guidance took place at the request of RCVS Council. Council considered all of the evidence considered by the COVID-19 Taskforce, including an independent survey of veterinary practices into their experiences of remote consulting and feedback from different veterinary service providers.
After further discussion, Council voted to support the guidance but with additional safeguards concerning the physical examination of animals and the availability of follow-up care. The decision will be communicated to the profession as soon as possible and effective from 1 November 2020, to allow time for practices to make any necessary adaptations.
Council also agreed that the temporary derogation from the usual requirement to conduct a physical examination before an animal is regarded as ‘under care’ be reviewed as a standing item at each subsequent Standards Committee meeting until normal guidance provisions are restored.