The RCVS petition asking the Government to protect the title of “veterinary nurse” has officially closed, with more than 36,000 signatures.
Launched in August, the petition aimed to push the Government to legally protect the title so only those with the relevant education, training and appropriate register with the RCVS can refer to themselves as such. This would also mean criminalisation of any improper use of the term.
According to the college, the petition gathered more than 10,000 signatures in its first week and closed on 14 February with 36,862.
Defra had already responded to the petition, stating in January while it recognised the important role VNs have in animal care, it would not be recommending Parliament give the title legal protection. However, it has agreed to work with the RCVS to review Schedule 3, which outlines veterinary procedures that can be delegated to RVNs.
RCVS VN council chairman Liz Cox said the council was “very impressed” with the petition’s achievements, including its support, its role in increasing public awareness of what veterinary nurses do and how it galvanised the profession, and said while there was “disappointment” with Defra’s response, the fight continues.
She said: “We will continue to argue the veterinary nurse title should be a legally protected one, like that of veterinary surgeon.
“While the RCVS and membership organisations campaign at a national level, it is important VNs and veterinary surgeons continue to promote and explain veterinary nursing to clients. Good veterinary nursing can make a huge difference to the outcome and experience for both the animal and the client, we do great job and we need to tell the public.”
VN Futures, a joint RCVS and BVNA project looking to help VNs prepare for and shape their future, will also be looking at ways of strengthening and raising awareness of the profession, said the college.