The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is launching a consultation on proposals to allow all RCVS-registered veterinary surgeons to use the courtesy title of doctor.

It is seeking the views of all members of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions and the public.

The proposals were raised by RCVS president Stuart Reid in July 2014, with the aims of aligning the UK with international practice, providing greater clarity for the profession and offering reassurance to clients and the public that all veterinary surgeons registered with the RCVS, regardless of where they qualified, have veterinary degrees of an appropriate standard.

Prof Reid highlighted most international veterinary surgeons use the title and that, in Australia and New Zealand, this is frequently tied to registration and professional standing, rather than necessarily academic attainment.

Of the three main clinical degrees in the UK (medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine), only veterinary surgeons do not use the courtesy title Dr.

Prof Reid added: “Because all continental EU graduates carry the title Dr, there is now a greater chance of confusion for the lay public.

“This is an opportunity to provide, for those UK veterinary surgeons who wish it, the legitimate use of a title that offers a level of parity with fellow medical professionals.”

The key objective of the consultation is to gauge whether the public and the profession are in favour of the proposal, not in favour, or don’t mind.

If agreed, the title would be optional, although the RCVS would regulate its use through its code of professional conduct.

Background information and draft guidance on using the title is available at, from where respondents can follow a link to answer the consultation questions.

The consultation will open officially on Tuesday, January 6 for six weeks although it is already available to view via the RCVS website, to allow more time for responses over the Christmas and New Year break. The closing date for responses is 5pm on Monday, February 16.

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