RCVS Council delays implementation of anti-parasitics "under care" guidance - Veterinary Practice
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RCVS Council delays implementation of anti-parasitics “under care” guidance

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council has delayed the implementation some of its “under care” guidance concerning the prescription of anti-parasitic prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs)

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) logo

At its meeting on Thursday 7 September 2023, the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) agreed that, to help veterinary practices comply with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMRs), it would delay until 12 January 2024 the implementation of the specific part of its new “under care” guidance concerning the prescription of anti-parasitic prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs).

This decision was made in light of increasing recent reports of widespread non-compliance by veterinary practices with an aspect of the VMRs set by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and feedback from a number of veterinary practices concerned about their ability now to achieve compliance.

By not complying with VMD rules about including prescriptions for anti-parasitic POM-Vs in patient records, veterinary practices have discovered they are unable to follow the College’s new guidance on under care and remote prescribing without physically examining a large number of animals.

This guidance was published on 20 January 2023 and came into effect on 1 September 2023.

Although there is no specific form for a prescription within patient records, it needs to include enough information so that the person supplying against it knows what to do, whether they are another veterinary surgeon, a veterinary nurse, a suitably-qualified person or a lay member of staff.

Under the new under care guidance, veterinary surgeons must perform a physical examination as part of their initial clinical assessment of an animal before prescribing POM-V anti-parasitics.

RCVS President, Dr Sue Paterson, said: “While it has been both surprising and disappointing to learn of such widespread non-compliance with legislation that has been in place for many years, Council decided to postpone the implementation of this one aspect of our new under care guidance to allow practices additional time to bring their prescribing protocols into line with VMD rules.

“Council felt this would be a compassionate and pragmatic approach in light of the amount of additional work non-compliant practices now need to undertake to rectify their prescribing protocols, while at the same time continuing to provide services to the animal-owning public in a period of workforce shortages and high client demand.”

The delayed implementation date of 12 January 2024 relates only to the prescription of POM-V anti-parasitics.

The rest of the new under care guidance remains in effect from 1 September 2023.

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