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Magna Charter: a new Royal Charter has been granted to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Magna Charter: a new Royal Charter has been granted to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

RCVS | Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

4 min read Partner content

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons celebrated its new Royal Charter, which officially recognises veterinary nursing as a regulated profession, at a sector-wide event at the House of Commons recently.

The event was attended by veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons, Members of Parliament and Peers to recognise the impact of the new Charter, the first in 50 years, which was passed by Privy Council in November last year and came into effect in February 2015.

Under the changes instituted in the new Charter there are no longer listed veterinary nurses and all those formerly on the List are now registered veterinary nurses and will be able to use the post nominals RVN.



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As a result they will now be expected to undertake the minimum requirement for continuing professional development (CPD) of 45 hours over a three-year period.  They will also be responsible for adhering to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, and will be subject to the College’s disciplinary system in cases of serious professional misconduct. Any veterinary nurse removed or suspended from the Register will not be entitled to give medical treatment or carry out minor surgery.

During the Reception this video highlighting the important work of the Royal College was shown

The President of the RCVS, Professor Stuart Reid, said:

“This is a wonderful occasion and a real example of governance in action. This is an issue that has been developing over 50 years, and there has been an extraordinary effort on the part of many people. I just happen to be the one who is lucky enough to be President on this momentous day.

“This is a significant development in our role as regulator and in terms of protecting the public. Rather than a para-profession, veterinary  nursing should now be seen as an allied profession to that of veterinary surgeons. It is a big step forward.

However, there is one more piece to the jigsaw – that is protecting the title ‘veterinary nurse’. I think we are more than half way there and, whether through legislation or through the professional code of practice, redoubling our efforts will see us achieve this aim"

Stuart added:
“One of the great things about this Charter, besides the impact on veterinary nursing, is the way we have been able to collaborate and interact with our many stakeholders. It has given us a real sense of purpose and, looking at some of the other things that have been happening across the profession, one of the reasons I believe that there are so many people here today is that we are now enjoying a much improved profile in places like the House of Commons”.

Nick Stace, Chief Executive of the RCVS, said:

“I think it is a massively significant shift for the organisation in the sense that we can do what we have been trying to do for years; which is to properly regulate veterinary nurses.  It also means we can have an alternative disputes resolution system in place, so that when consumers have concerns about veterinary services, they can come to us to seek resolution. So, it’s a massive change. It may physically be a small Charter but that belies the fact that this is really a revolution at the Royal College and it allows us to do a whole range of things that we couldn’t do in the past that the public and the profession rightly expect we should.”

Shadow Defra Minister Angela Smith (Labour candidate Penistone and Stocksbridge), who co-sponsored the event, said:

“I’m really delighted that we are a celebrating the signing of the new Royal Charter today. I’m really delighted to hear from Nick Stace about the plans to defend and advance standards in the profession both in terms of the veterinary practices and the nurses as well. What really impressed me was the commitment to on-going work in terms of maintaining rigour and standards in the profession and not letting things rest, always recognising that there is more to do.”

Neil Parish (Conservative candidate for Tiverton and Honiton), a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and further co-sponsor of the event, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons here today. It is good to have the Charter recognised. It really reinforces the legal position and the Royal College as a regulatory body.  I’m also delighted that veterinary nurses have been recognised as a profession; for a long time they have done excellent work in veterinary surgeries but never had the recognition they deserve.”

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