Ideal Queen's Speech: Protect the title 'Veterinary Nurse'
With the last Queen’s Speech of this Parliament next week, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons explains why the Government should be legislating to protect the VN title to ensure standards for animal care.
"My Government will introduce a Bill to protect the title 'veterinary nurse', to ensure that the public know that only trained and regulated professionals are caring for their animals."
Currently the title 'veterinary nurse' is not protected, and therefore anyone, no matter how little training and education they may have, can legally refer to themselves as a veterinary nurse (VN) - this is very misleading to the public.
Qualified VNs (whose names appear in the
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons(
RCVS) published List of certificate-holders) are allowed to give medical treatment to, or carry out minor surgery on, animals under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (VSA).
In 2007, the
RCVSintroduced a non-statutory Register of Veterinary Nurses. Registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) commit to follow a code of professional conduct, keep their skills and knowledge up to date and submit to a disciplinary system. RVNs found guilty of serious professional misconduct can be suspended or removed from the Register at the direction of the RVN Disciplinary Committee.
RCVShas proposed a new Royal Charter which will give statutory underpinning to the regulation of RVNs, and we hope this will come into effect in 2015.
However, a Royal Charter cannot protect the title 'veterinary nurse' - we need a new Act of Parliament to achieve that. The protection of the VN title is widely supported by the veterinary nursing profession and the public. This is evidenced by a 2012 HM Government e-petition which received over 2,500 signatures.
Furthermore, protection of the veterinary nurse title by statute is supported by the British Veterinary Nursing Association and the
British Veterinary Association, the representative bodies for veterinary nurses and surgeons in the UK.