RCVS advice service trials extended opening hours
As of today (Thursday 4 June 2015) the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Professional Standards Advice Team will be trialling extended hours, meaning that a member of staff will be available to answer calls about the Code of Professional Conduct and its supporting guidance until 7pm.
The trial will last for three months during which calls will be taken between 9.15am and 7pm, Monday to Friday. The closing time of 7pm was decided by the RCVS Standards Committee because research conducted by both the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons and the RCVS determined that this is the average closing time for veterinary practices in the UK.
On average the Professional Conduct Department deals with 7,500 calls a year (which includes calls from veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses looking for advice about professional responsibilities and standards) as well as around 2,000 written requests which are dealt with exclusively by the Professional Standards Advice Team.
Laura McClintock, Standards and Advisory Manager, says: “The aim of the trial is to determine if the profession would take advantage of these extended hours and, therefore, if our team should permanently extend its operating hours to provide a better service to the profession.
“However, it must be remembered that this is not an emergency service but an extension to our standard service and advice during the extended hours will not necessarily be any more immediate than at any other time during the day because it may need further research or input from members of the Standards Committee.
“Prior to launching the trial we also liaised with 10 other UK healthcare and professional regulators and found that our current professional advice service compared favourably to others and that we were providing a more extensive service than many.”
The team aims to provide clear, concise and consistent advice to help veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses understand their professional responsibilities and support compliance with the Code. It also clearly distinguishes between professional requirements, legal requirements and suggested good practice and may offer suggestions about how professional responsibilities can be applied in practice.
However, there are some areas on which the team is unable to offer guidance. For example, it cannot offer clinical advice or advice on legal matters such as employment law, maternity rights, or contractual or civil disputes.
Advice is also available for members of the public, for example, to help animal owners understand what they can expect from their veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.
To contact the team call 020 7202 0789 or, alternatively, email [email protected]