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Consultation on team working and corporate practice

18 November 2002

The RCVS Advisory Committee has proposed guidance for all members "working in teams", which provides that a member working in a team/organisation must: -

  • ensure the team/organisation (which may be subject to particular systems, practices and protocols) allows him or her to practise in accordance with the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct;

  • communicate with colleagues to co-ordinate the care of patients;

  • be accountable for medicines he or she obtains; and,

  • ensure the immediate team understands his or her responsibilities on, for example, certification.

The guidance also suggests recourse to the RCVS, if any professional conduct issues cannot be resolved internally.

There was recognition that aspects of the proposed advice can be found in parts of the current RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct, but the Committee considered that specific guidance for members "working in teams" was important, particularly with the increasing number of corporate bodies managing veterinary practices.

The Committee also endorsed a proposal for a voluntary code of practice for "organisations or individuals providing a veterinary service direct to the public, where the business (or charity) is predominantly managed by non-veterinary surgeons".

Organisations or individuals signing up to the code will agree to appoint a Chief Veterinary Surgeon to director or equivalent status, who will be responsible for veterinary issues within the business or charity, such as any clinical protocols issued, the control of medicines and complaints against veterinary surgeons.

Full details of the proposed guidance and voluntary code may also be obtained from the Professional Conduct Department (020 7202 0789). The Advisory Committee will review the proposals on 16 January 2003 and invites any comments or observations from members and interested parties by 9 January 2003.

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