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November Regional Meetings - future of the profession in focus

5 November 2002

On 26 and 27 November 2002, the RCVS hosted two Regional Meetings at Scotch Corner and in Grantham. Both meetings were reasonably well attended with around 30 vets and VNs at Scotch Corner and over 40 in Grantham.

ESSG Proposals
The future of the profession was the main focus of the evenings' discussions. There was general enthusiasm for the ESSG Recommendations though some concern at the PTP (Professional Training Phase) and its implications, both in terms of resources (financial and manpower) and the paperwork that might accompany it.

VN Training
Inevitably, parallels were drawn between the old and new VN schemes (which is still having teething problems - in particular the increased paperwork). RCVS Officers welcomed the comments of those currently implementing the scheme and assured them that these would be taken on board, and avenues explored to reduce the heavy bureaucracy and time commitment involved. A number of members expressed their support for the new scheme and welcomed the improvements it brought.

 

 

 

Vets on Farms
At the Scotch Corner meeting, members expressed concern about the diminishing role of the veterinary surgeon on the farm and felt that DEFRA had showed a lack of interest in this matter. RCVS was urged to provide some input to DEFRA to highlight the importance of the vets' role on farm, for the benefit of general herd health and disease surveillance in particular. A representative from the Meat Hygiene Service was in attendance and advised that DEFRA would be consulting shortly on disease surveillance strategies and this would be an ideal opportunity to submit views.

Maintaining 24-Hour Cover
At both meetings vets voiced their concern about the practicalities of maintaining 24-hour cover. In some areas where there were few practices, such cover was proving to be a large resource commitment for practices that did not have the option of a cooperative call-out service. Nevertheless, a show of hands at both meetings confirmed the view that 24-hour cover in some form or another should be maintained. RCVS Officers said that the current guidelines would be reviewed next year in the light of these concerns and possible difficulties with new legal provisions relating to working time.

A full report of these meetings will be available online in due course and will be submitted to the relevant RCVS Committees.

The next round of Regional Meetings will be held in Bolton and Ipswich on the 14 and 15 January 2003 - more details available soon.

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