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External audit of veterinary nursing NVQ launched

29 March 2005

April will see the launch of an independent audit into the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in veterinary nursing, awarded by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The audit forms part of the College's ongoing commitment to review its qualifications and training standards, and will assess whether the current documentation, guidance and assessment methods can be revised to reduce time and bureaucratic burdens on veterinary practices.

This will be achieved through assessment against the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) requirements and those of other equivalent qualifications and awarding bodies.

"There has been a steady increase in enrolments on the NVQ course, with 788 qualifying last year, compared with just 487 in 2001. Furthermore, the drop-out rate has decreased significantly, at 48 per cent during the period 1999 to 2001 compared with just 17 per cent for 2002-4," commented Roger Eddy, Chairman of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council.

"This is very positive and it is important to benchmark our NVQ against others to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible, while producing high quality nurses that can add real value to a practice."

The audit will take approximately three months and comprise both desk-based and qualitative research, including discussion with practices, veterinary organisations and other relevant individuals. The final report is expected in early July.

The audit is being carried out by Sheila McQueen of McData Ltd, an independent researcher with extensive experience in the sector, including work with LANTRA (the Sector Skills Council for the Land-based and Environmental sector).

The audit provides an opportunity for interested parties to register their views on any aspect of the VN NVQ scheme. Emails should be sent to by 31 May 2005.

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