BVA President Dr Justine Shotton has penned a letter to the RCVS expressing concern over the regulator’s decision to extend measures permitting remote prescribing.
In the letter, Dr Shotton questions why the guidance appears to be becoming “part of the new normal” and calls on the RCVS to share details about the evidence that influenced the extension, as well as the exit plan.
Remote prescribing was introduced by the RCVS as a temporary measure early on in the pandemic to reduce appointments in practice and keep the veterinary team safe while maintaining animal health and welfare. The guidance enables vets to remotely prescribe prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs) without a physical examination of the animal.
While it initially supported the measures, BVA has voiced concern over several extensions to the guidance and suggested that it could lead to unrealistic expectations among clients. It has also expressed concern over the risks to animal welfare in cases where health problems are not identified during in-practice appointments.
Writing to the RCVS, Dr Shotton quotes the BVA’s new policy stance on under care and the remote provision of veterinary services, which acknowledged the early relaxation of prescribing requirements as a “pragmatic solution”. The position statement added, however, that this was a temporary measure in unprecedented times, which “must not lead to a longer-term change without full consultation with the profession and total transparency in relation to impacts on prescribing behaviours.”
Dr Shotton concludes: “We would like to better understand the evidence base on which RCVS continues to allow remote prescribing, including the impact on prescribing behaviours, and the proposed exit strategy. As far as we are aware, RCVS is still assessing the findings from the RAND survey as part of the under care review, and as those results are yet to be shared it is unclear how the continual extensions to remote prescribing dovetail with longer-term plans and potential changes to the Code.”