The RCVS has launched a professional consultation on the proposed reforms.
A consultation has been launched on the definition of 'under care' and the provision of 24/7 emergency cover.
Plans for members of the veterinary professions to engage with the Under Care Review were approved at a meeting of RCVS Council earlier this month (6 July).
It means that all veterinary professionals, vet and vet nurse students, practice managers and those who work in the veterinary practice team will be able to share their opinions on the proposed reforms, as detailed on the RCVS website.
A separate public consultation is also being planned, the terms of which are currently under review by the RCVS Standards Committee.
RCVS president Dr Melissa Donald, former chair of the Standards Committee, said the consultation, while not a referendum, “is a crucial opportunity for veterinary colleagues to tell us whether we have got the draft guidance right, whether the proposed safeguards are sufficient, and whether there is anything we might have missed or should amend.”
During the recent meeting of RCVS Council, members raised concerns about the proposed guidance, particularly with regards to antimicrobial resistance and additional safeguards to protect animal health and welfare.
All veterinary surgeons and nurses were invited by email last week (18 July 2022) to participate in the consultation, and the College will also be writing to all key veterinary stakeholders to seek their input.
Dr Donald continued: “As difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic made all our working lives, the numerous lockdowns gave us the opportunity to explore what ‘under care’ meant in principle and helped us to learn how new guidance could best work in practice and across all species.
“The past two years have shown us that the veterinary professions are highly capable of adopting new ways of working. It also revealed that we can adapt our established ways of practice to better respond to shifts in public expectations and advancements in technology. However, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that any changes continue to allow us to provide safe and effective care for our patients, and meet the appropriate expectations of our clients.
“Whilst we recognise and reflect on the need for change, the proposed guidance seeks to protect animal health and welfare and maintain public trust by ensuring that decision-making remains firmly in the hands of individual veterinary surgeons, as to what they, in their professional judgement, consider appropriate in a specific situation.”
The consultation will run for eight weeks, closing at 5 pm on Monday, 12 September. For more information and to take part, visit rcvs.org.uk