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A new strategy for the Veterinary regulator

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons | Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

4 min read Partner content

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has published a strategy document setting out its objectives for the next three years.

The Royal College also used the event in the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Mackay of Clashfern KT, to formally launch the new RCVS Queen’s Medal.

The award, approved by Her Majesty the Queen, is an aspirational honour open to all veterinary surgeons whose achievements and career deserve special recognition.

Lord Mackay said that launching the Royal medal was “a unique occasion” l especially given that “Her Majesty is very interested in animals and more than one sort of animal”.

President of the RCVS, Colonel Neil Smith said:

“We are delighted that Her Majesty supported the proposal and the criteria for the award. It was especially pleasing to me as, in addition to being the incumbent President of the RCVS, I currently hold the appointment of Her Majesty's Honorary Veterinary Surgeon as a part of my military duties. From today the College will be accepting nominations from veterinary surgeons”

Nominations close on 15 January.

Nick Stace, the RCVS Chief Executive, focussed on the importance of the forward-looking strategy document:

“It is a very credible document in the sense that it’s evidence based. It follows the first-rate regulator initiative which heard from a quarter of the profession and around twenty percent of the public that have complained to the Royal College over the last two years, plus various stakeholders, and also the desk based research we did to compare ourselves against 15 other regulators.”

He added:

“It is a reformist strategic plan in the sense that it completely transforms the Royal College from an organisation that could have been perceived to be complacent because of its monopoly status, through to an organisation that challenges itself constantly not to be complacent in terms of the service agenda and the service culture that we are bringing about within. So it is a massive change in the way that the Royal College operates and sees itself”.

Mr Stace added that support from RCVS staff had been “tremendous” as well as support from the wider veterinary community. He said that the proposed updated Royal Charter would provide a framework to the RCVS for the next 50 years.

He will continue to take forward the important campaign which the RCVS is leading, to protect the title Veterinary Nurse (VN):

“The thing about the veterinary profession is that it has a high degree of respect from members of the public. They really do trust veterinary nurses and surgeons. We must protect that”.

Mr Stace has already met recently with a Defra Minister:

George Eustice was very supportive of the plans that we have and really pleased that we are firmly in the driving seat of reform for the Royal College. I am determined that we remain there”.

Support for the RCVS and specifically the protection of the Veterinary Nurse title was clear and cross-party as Neil Parish and Andrew Miller stated:

Neil Parish MP(Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton):

"I think we need to listen to what the RCVS is saying because we want to make sure that we've got good veterinary nurses and good vets. I’m a farmer by background and had dairy cows, so you need large animal vets and veterinary nurses and those that can look after small animals. It is essential that we have really good training so that is why I’m keen to follow what they are doing and I want the government to listen".

Asked if he supported the VN campaign he said:

"Yes because I think that the Veterinary nurses if you go to the vets often weigh your dog and do all the preliminary work - they do some really good work and probably are not recognised enough. So if you take that title away they are downgraded, when in many ways they should be upgraded".

Andrew Miller MP (Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston) said:

"As Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee in the Commons, but also because one of the leading schools, Liverpool (Leahurst) is in my constituency, I take a particularly close interest in what's happening in this area. I have been having discussions for some time with vets in Leahurst, about some of the issues about the profession, and certainly I would be a strong supporter of seeing an updated Royal Charter that incorporates the issues around the status of veterinary nursing".

He added:

"It seems to me a fairly obvious small change that the government could introduce into any Defra based bill. We heard today it could be a hand-out bill, but actually it could be slot into any Defra based bill without any cross-party squabbling, it seems to me makes eminent sense and would help not just improve broader animal welfare in the country, but actually improve public confidence and I think that's hugely important. That anyone can call themselves a veterinary nurse is unacceptable"

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