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RCVS calls for a Private Members Bill to protect the title ‘veterinary nurse'

RCVS calls for a Private Members Bill to protect the title ‘veterinary nurse'

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons | Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

2 min read Partner content

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) calls on MPs to introduce a ballot Bill to protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’ and introduce an effective regulatory system that would ensure that those veterinary nurses found guilty of serious professional misconduct were prevented from carrying out medical treatment to, or surgery on, animals.

Currently, veterinary nurses (VNs) are not subject to statutory regulation, but the RCVSuses powers under its Royal Charter to award certificates to VNs who have undergone approved training. Qualified VNs (whose names appear in a List of certificate-holders published by the RCVS) 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 for 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 by the RCVS, but the RCVShas no power to remove them from the List, therefore they can still legally give medical treatment or carry out minor surgery and perform other nursing duties specified under the VSA.

Furthermore, the title ‘veterinary nurse’ is not protected, so anyone, no matter how little training and education they may have, can legally refer to themselves as a veterinary nurse.

The statutory regulation of VNs is widely supported by the veterinary nursing profession and the public. This is evidenced by a 2012 HM Government e-petition, calling for the statutory regulation of veterinary nurses, receiving over 2,500 signatures. Moreover, the regulation of veterinary nurses by statute is supported by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and the British Veterinary Association( BVA), the representative bodies for veterinary nurses and surgeons in the UK.

The RCVShas been working to develop a framework for the regulation of veterinary nurses and has a pre-prepared Bill, drafted by leading Counsel, which it will be offering to MPs drawn in this year’s private members Bill ballot.

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