RCVS consults members on future regulation of the veterinary profession

5 February 2003

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons today seeks the views of its members on some of the most crucial issues to face the veterinary profession in recent years. An RCVS Consultation paper, mailed to members today, poses important questions about the future of RCVS and the way the veterinary profession regulates itself.

DEFRA is considering the need for a new Veterinary Surgeons Act. Most of the other professions have revised their procedures in response to changing views within society on regulation of the professions, the Human Rights Act and the pressure for more competition in the provision of services hitherto reserved to the professions.

All veterinary surgeons need to be aware of the implications of changes in legislation and have an opportunity to contribute to the debate. The RCVS has not yet formed a view on many aspects of the new legislation and is seeking opinions from its members. The consultation paper sets out the main areas where change is likely and presents arguments for various alternatives. The main issues of concern are:-

  • the composition of the RCVS Council;

  • the arrangements for the supervision of professional conduct;

  • the definition of veterinary surgery (which determines what lay people may do and what is reserved to a veterinary surgeon);

  • the financing of the activities carried out by the College under the Royal Charter; and

  • the regulation of veterinary nurses and other paraprofessionals.

RCVS President Stephen Ware said today "These are crucial issues which concern the future of veterinary medicine as a self-regulating profession. It is vital that members are consulted before the RCVS produces a definitive view of the changes it would like to see when the time comes to negotiate with Government on the contents of a new Act. A new Veterinary Surgeons Act will set the platform for regulation of the profession for the next thirty years or so."

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