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Call for comment on new draft Performance Protocol

16 November 2011

We are calling for comment on a draft Performance Protocol, which aims to manage proportionately any justified concerns about the professional performance of veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses (RVNs).

Puppy patient

The Preliminary Investigation and Advisory Committees have been working together to develop a new protocol setting out the way in which we will respond to ongoing performance-related concerns.

There is an expectation that veterinary surgeons and RVNs are already regularly reviewing their clinical work in the workplace.

This will be reinforced by the new principles-based Code of Professional Conduct, currently being finalised, which is likely to require clinical governance to be part of professional practice for veterinary surgeons and RVNs.

The draft protocol is intended to formalise and build on the way the RCVS already manage ongoing serious performance-related concerns.

It introduces new measures, including supervision and undertakings, to seek to ensure that veterinary surgeons and RVNs take reasonable steps to address any serious performance concerns.

This will bring the RCVS into line with other professional regulators and enable a tailored and proportionate response to these cases to protect the welfare of animals and the public interest.

This will bring the RCVS into line with other professional regulators and enable a tailored and proportionate response to these cases to protect the welfare of animals and the public interest.

Our current system of offering advice to veterinary surgeons and RVNs will remain for complaints which are closed, because there is no indication of serious professional misconduct.

According to independent legal advice, such an approach is appropriate and necessary in order for us to fulfil our regulatory responsibilities.

The draft performance protocol follows similar legal advice that supported the implementation of the RCVS Health Protocol, and both protocols clarify our parallel jurisdiction relating to health and performance-related issues.

“When veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses are unable to deal with performance-related concerns, it is important that the College is able to provide a supportive framework to oversee remedial steps that are designed to address those concerns and encourage professional development.

"This is best achieved outside a Disciplinary Committee hearing, if at all possible,” says RCVS President Jerry Davies.

The approved draft protocol is now open for public consultation

All comments on the draft should be emailed to the Advisory Manager at advice@rcvs.org.uk by 13 January 2012 – please add ‘Performance Protocol’ to the subject heading.

The feedback received from the consultation will be considered by the Preliminary Investigation and Advisory Committees in January 2012, before being submitted to RCVS Council for approval in March.

We hope that a performance protocol will form part of the supporting guidance to the new RCVS Codes of Professional Conduct for both veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses.

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