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RCVS briefs MPs on latest veterinary issues

4 December 2003

RCVS Officers met with a number of MPs (see below) at the House of Commons yesterday to brief them on current veterinary political issues and raise awareness of some of the important changes currently facing the profession.

The main focus of the discussion was the review of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and the work the RCVS was currently undertaking in relation to veterinary practice standards, the future of veterinary education (including 'top-up fees'), 24 hour cover and the development of modular certificates to meet the demands of a 21st century veterinary profession.

MPs highlighted the need to ensure that consumers understood what services they were receiving from veterinary surgeons and at what cost. It was also suggested that parallels should be drawn with other professions, so that lessons could be learned from their experiences.

The follow up on the Competition Commission Inquiry was also discussed with MPs expressing surprise both at the speed with which the DTI had forged ahead and the initial requirement for a "no-cost" prescription.

There was general agreement with the RCVS position that nothing should be finalised until the Government response to the EFRA Committee report was known, and that implementation should also be delayed until European developments on medicines were agreed later in 2004 so as to avoid making further changes to any UK scheme later.

There was also some appreciation for RCVS concerns about vets issuing a prescription, only for it to be dispensed by another veterinary surgeon.

The spread of bovine tuberculosis and the Government's reluctance to undertake any action until the end of the Krebs trial was a point of concern. Many MPs were increasingly facing this issue in their constituencies and felt the developments in Ireland were to be watched with interest to see if lessons could be learned by the UK.

A further such meeting is planned during 2004.

The meeting was hosted by RCVS Council Member Martyn Jones MP (Clwyd South) and attended by:

  • Tim Boswell MP (Daventry)
  • Angela Browning MP (Tiverton & Honiton)
  • Alistair Carmichael MP (Orkney & Shetland)
  • David Heath MP (Somerton & Frome)
  • The Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Maidenhead)
  • Paul Tyler MP (North Cornwall)
  • Bill Wiggin MP (Leominster),


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