The RCVS has agreed to reduce the annual requirement of hours of continuing professional development (CPD) that veterinary professionals are expected to undertake in 2020 by 25 percent due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the UK Government’s measures to reduce its transmission.
The annual minimum requirement for veterinary surgeons will be reduced from 35 to 26 hours of CPD, while that of veterinary nurses will be reduced from 15 to 11 hours. The reduction comes into force immediately to help relieve the pressure on vets and vet nurses who the College understands are facing significant and competing challenges in the coming weeks and months. A similar 25 percent reduction will also be introduced for veterinary surgeons holding Advanced Practitioner or RCVS Specialist status, as retaining these statuses requires additional hours of CPD, including in the specific areas of designation.
The decision to reduce the hours was made on Monday 30 March 2020 by the new RCVS Council COVID-19 Taskforce, chaired by RCVS President Dr Niall Connell, which was set up in order to make temporary policy decisions related to the pandemic in a quicker and more agile way. The proposal had previously been considered and supported by the RCVS Education Committee, VN Council and CPD Policy Working Group.
Dr Connell said: “As a compassionate regulator, we recognise that although some veterinary professionals have seen a reduced workload, there remains immense pressure on very many members of the professions to juggle professional and family, childcare and other caring responsibilities in very difficult circumstances.
“A number of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses expressed concern that it may be difficult to undertake CPD at present and so, in order to give the professions some breathing space, we decided we would reduce the minimum hours required for 2020. We also recognise that some practices are having to make the difficult decision to reduce their CPD budgets this year in response to falling footfall.
“However, it is worth reiterating that CPD need not be expensive or require physical attendance at lectures, congresses or other events. There are many online providers of CPD and other resources such as articles and webinars, some of which may be free. The key is that the CPD is relevant to you and enhances your professional practice and so we would still encourage all our members to undertake CPD as and when they can.”
The policy will be under regular review and may be extended further if the circumstances demand. Those with any questions on the policy change should contact the RCVS Education Department on firstname.lastname@example.org
A full range of FAQs on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the veterinary profession are available to view online.
The College’s charity partner RCVS Knowledge has published a range of evidence and research resources for veterinary professionals on the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new webinar on infection control and biosecurity.