A second alternative dispute resolution (ADR) trial is being launched by the RCVS on Monday (3 October).
The new, nine-month trial, known as the Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS), is RCVS-funded and administered by Nockolds Solicitors, which has experience in running consumer dispute and mediation services in the optical industry.
The first trial, administered by Ombudsman Services, was launched in November 2014 and came to a close this summer. RCVS officers will ultimately compare the results of each trial to assess respective benefits.
The VCMS is free and voluntary for both parties, and will be able to consider concerns that do not meet the college’s threshold of “serious professional misconduct”.
Appropriate resolution of concerns
RCVS registrar Eleanor Ferguson said: “As with the last trial, we are hoping we can find a way of resolving concerns members of the public may have about veterinary services in an appropriate way.
“However, a key difference with the VCMS from the previous trial is it can be accessed directly, rather than having to go through the RCVS concerns investigation process first.
“We hope this will appeal to both parties, as it will offer a quicker and simpler way of resolving client concerns without RCVS involvement and should improve satisfaction with the process from both parties.”
The VCMS trial will run until July 2017 and will deal specifically with concerns made about the treatment of horses, cats, dogs and other small mammals (for example, rabbits, hamsters or gerbils) by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse.
The VCMS website (www.vetmediation.co.uk) has further information about the trial, including frequently asked questions for both veterinary clients and professionals.
The VCMS will be available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, on 0845 040 5834 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org