At its meeting on Thursday 3 October 2019 RCVS Council, the College’s governing body, approved the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) which had previously been approved by the Council of the VCI at its meeting on 25 September 2019.
The MRA is the first agreement that has been signed on a bilateral basis between the UK and another country in the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that, through opportunities for an expert reviewer from each party to sit on local accreditation panels and sharing of visitation outcomes, the veterinary degree from University College Dublin can be recognised by the RCVS and the current eight UK veterinary degrees (including the recently approved University of Surrey degree) can be recognised by the VCI.
Currently, EEA citizens who graduate from University College Dublin have an automatic right to work in the UK via the European Union’s Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. The MRA means that, whatever the outcome of the UK leaving the European Union, following successful accreditation visits University College Dublin graduates can join the Register of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, and UK graduates can join the VCI’s equivalent register.
Dr Niall Connell, RCVS President, said: “We are glad to be able to sign this agreement with the VCI which is a vital element of future-proofing to ensure that, whatever the future relationship with the EU, Dublin graduates are able to be recognised as holding a registerable qualification by us as the UK regulator.
“I hope, in particular, this provides some reassurance to the community in Northern Ireland as many of its veterinary surgeons are trained in Dublin and so it is vital to ensure that, whatever happens with the UK’s exit from the EU, this will continue to be a viable source of veterinary talent for the region.”
The President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland, Peadar Ó Scanaill, said: “I am delighted to see the continued close alignment the Profession enjoys across both nations. This close alignment transcends any borders and many decades of mutual cooperation and recognition. The veterinary profession in Great Britain and throughout the island of Ireland has moved step-by-step and shoulder-to-shoulder in unison over the years and recent political events will not sever that important bond. Cooperation and mutual recognition are the key components of our future together.”
The MRA also stipulates that, in order to maintain the agreement, the RCVS and VCI will have the opportunity to attend accreditation visitations to each other’s veterinary schools in order to ensure that they are meeting their respective accreditation criteria for veterinary education. The current expectation is that these visitations will be carried out in conjunction with, or as part of, those of any international accreditation bodies, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
It is expected that, later this month, the VCI President Peadar Ó Scanaill and CEO Niamh Muldoon will meet with RCVS President Niall Connell and RCVS Director of Education, Dr Linda Prescott-Clements, in London to sign the agreement.