The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has established a new working group to develop the details of how the College would propose to regulate veterinary practices on a statutory basis in the future.
The mandatory regulation of veterinary practices, including statutory powers of entry and inspection, is one of the key elements of RCVS proposals for new primary legislation that would replace the current Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
The working group, which was established at the end of 2023 and is expected to present the details of a mandatory practice regulation system to Council by the end of 2024, will be chaired by RCVS president Sue Paterson, FRCVS.
It will include standards committee chair Linda Belton, MRCVS, and practice standards group chair Belinda Andrews-Jones, RVN, alongside veterinary, veterinary nursing, lay and external representatives.
Sue Paterson said: “With over 70 percent of practice premises currently under its ambit, our practice standards scheme (PSS) has shown how keen practices are to maintain high standards.
“However, it is a voluntary scheme and, as a result, there is no mechanism to ensure standards across all practices or to ensure change in those rare situations where it is needed.
“At present, the RCVS only regulates individual veterinary surgeons and nurses, and the veterinary sector does not have an equivalent to the care quality commission, which considers human healthcare premises.
“This means that the onus for maintaining standards within the workplace falls on regulated individuals rather than the business structure.
“We will consider what a scheme that puts more statutory responsibility on business owners to maintain standards should look like.
“I look forward to working with colleagues in RCVS Council, VN Council and other veterinary organisations via this group to really flesh out what this regulatory system might look like in the future, to make sure it is appropriate, robust, proportionate and enforceable.
“Establishing these details will also prove invaluable in our lobbying work with government, ministers and MPs.”