Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that England will go into a national lockdown on Thursday 5 November, and the start of the new local COVID Protection Levels system in Scotland, the BVA has updated its guidance for members.
In summary, the updated BVA guidance for England is:
- Veterinary practices are essential businesses and can stay open
- Practices must continue to work in COVID-safe ways
- Members of the veterinary team should work from home if possible
- Veterinary professionals should exercise clinical judgement to assess and triage essential animal health and welfare needs in the context of the lockdown
- Support neighbouring practices and be mindful of working across national borders
In Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed that veterinary practices are considered essential businesses and across all protection levels will be able to remain open and not have to restrict services, as long as the practice complies will all COVID requirements on working safely.
Commenting, BVA President James Russell said:
“We are very pleased that governments across the UK continue to recognise the importance of access to veterinary services during these local and national lockdowns – for animal health and welfare, public health, and keeping the food supply going.
“However, as veterinary professionals, we all have an incredibly important role to play in tackling the spread of the virus so we must continue to work as safely as possible to protect ourselves and our clients.
“The latest guidance from BVA focuses on the clinical and professional judgement of our colleagues to assess whether and how clients can be seen safely, as well as considering whether they need to be seen in person. Over the last seven months the veterinary teams have worked incredibly hard to put safe working measures in place, including the use of remote consultations, so we are in a very strong position to get through the new lockdown measures.
“We know from our recent Voice survey that members are concerned about stress and burnout within the profession, so I want to remind colleagues to continue to look out for one another and continue to communicate within teams so that everyone understands and feels comfortable with the protocols.”
Wales is currently in the firebreak lockdown (23 October to 9 November) and veterinary practices are delivering essential services only, based on previous BVA guidance.
For up to date information please visit the website.