The new royal charter for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) came into effect on February 17, meaning the whole of the veterinary nursing profession in the UK is now regulated.

RCVS registrar Gordon Hockey, left, and policy consultant Jeff Gill with the new royal charter outside the Houses of Parliament.

Under the changes instituted in the charter, there are no longer listed veterinary nurses and all those formerly on the RCVS list have effectively been moved to the register and will be able to use the postnominal RVN.

As a result they will now be expected to undertake the minimum requirement for continuing professional development (CPD) of 45 hours over a three-year period, will be responsible for adhering to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses and will be subject to the college’s disciplinary system in cases of serious professional misconduct.

Any veterinary nurse removed or suspended from the register will not be entitled to give medical treatment or carry out minor surgery.

The new charter received the Great Seal of the Realm and was collected from the House of Lords by RCVS registrar Gordon Hockey and policy consultant Jeff Gill. It had previously been approved at a meeting of the privy council in November.

Mr Hockey said it was a proud and important day for the profession as a whole.

“We worked very hard to get to this point and I would like to thank all those who helped us along the way, including RCVS and VN council members, college staff and the members of the profession and representative organisations, in particular the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), which responded to our consultation on the proposed charter last year.”

He said the charter clarified the role of the college and its aims and objectives while modernising many of its regulatory functions.

“This represents another significant step towards the college becoming a first-rate regulator,” he said. “Critically, this charter fulfils one of our long-term ambitions to create a coherent regulatory system for veterinary nurses and to recognise them as true professionals, dedicated to their vocation, their development and proper conduct.”

During the veterinary nurses’ renewal period this autumn, those formerly on the list will be expected to confirm they are undertaking CPD and will also need to disclose any criminal convictions, cautions or adverse findings when they renew their registration. The annual renewal fee for veterinary nurses remains unchanged.

  • A detailed set of FAQs for former listed veterinary nurses can be found at
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