BVA urges vet diligence when signing consent forms for treatment

Posted On: 
17th October 2019

BVA makes a series of recommendations on accreditation and regulation of allied professions and calls for clear and accessible information to be made available to support veterinary decision-making.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is encouraging vets to familiarise themselves with the work of allied professionals and make sure they are properly regulated before signing consent forms for the treatment of animals under their care. The advice comes as it launches a poster explaining its vision for effective teamwork between vets and allied professionals.

BVA’s concept of the vet-led team calls on vets and appropriately trained and regulated allied professionals to use a ‘hub and spoke’ model that has the vet at its heart to coordinate services for clients and patients.

Vets act as the hub for treatment, directing clients to an allied professional after examining an animal, making a diagnosis, and determining the best course of action. Allied professionals such as Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs), farriers, hydrotherapists, animal behaviourists, and veterinary physiotherapists operate as spokes surrounding the hub, returning cases back to the vet whenever further direction is necessary.

British Veterinary Association President Daniella Dos Santos said:

“Vets working across all sectors have always worked closely with allied professionals. Our poster acknowledges and clarifies this important working relationship and is intended to act as a handy reference for vets regarding lines of accountability and responsibility for the animals under their care.

“As gatekeepers for animal healthcare, vets must familiarise themselves with the work of allied professionals and have oversight of any treatments or services carried out by a regulated professional as part of a vet-led team.

“That’s why it’s vital that vets don’t agree to sign any consent form where their professional judgement is not satisfied. By providing consent that an animal is fit to receive a treatment, the client may infer that you have endorsed such a treatment. By signing, you may also be making yourself liable for poor treatment undertaken outside of the vet-led team.”

BVA’s Spring 2018 Voice of the Veterinary survey revealed that over half of vets (52%) believe that regulation is one of the top three most important considerations when selecting an allied professional to work with. The same survey also found that many of the allied professions in which vets’ confidence is highest actually have little or no formal regulation in place.

In its vision for the vet-led team, BVA makes a series of recommendations on accreditation and regulation of allied professions and calls for clear and accessible information to be made available to support veterinary decision-making.

You can read BVA’s vet-led team position and download the poster here.