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As the regulator the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) maintains and upholds the educational, ethical and clinical standards of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses, with animal welfare and public protection at the core of all we do.

We've outlined the recommendations for legislative reform below and you can also read the full report of recommendations.

A new Veterinary Surgeons Act encompassing the recommendations outlined below will ensure fairer, more efficient, proportionate, future-proofed and flexible regulation. This will in turn enable the veterinary professions to better serve animal health and welfare and the public interest.

We believe that reform should be
based on the following principles:

Principle 1

Legislation should not be unduly burdensome or complicated; it should provide clarity to the public and enhance public confidence in the professions, eg protection of veterinary titles, statutory underpinning for continuing professional development (CPD).

Principle 2

The RCVS disciplinary process should be ‘forward looking’, with public protection at its heart.

Principle 3

The vet-led team should fall under a single regulatory umbrella.

Principle 4

By default, acts of veterinary surgery should continue to be restricted to veterinary surgeons. However, in order to allow for future-proofing, there should be flexibility to reflect and review the procedures that may be delegated to appropriately qualified and supervised members of the vet-led team. Additional tasks may be delegated where this can be fully justified and evidenced. Such evidence may include comparison with other health professions.

Principle 5

Delegation rights to different paraprofessions should be variable without impacting each other. For instance, the rights of veterinary nurses to undertake minor acts of veterinary surgery should be amendable without impacting the rights of farmers, as is the situation at present.


Key recommendations

  • Embracing the vet-led team.
  • Assuring practice standards.
  • Introducing a ‘Fitness to Practise’ regime.
  • Modernising RCVS registration.
  • Improving access to the profession for those with disabilities.
  • Retaining a Royal College that regulates.

To read more about these key recommendations, please download the PDF using the button below.