Official position statement explains why it would not be appropriate for the RCVS to take a view on whether proposed new schools are required by the market.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has clarified its role with regard to new UK veterinary schools, by saying that it has no mandate to control student or graduate numbers.
With a new veterinary school due to open in 2014 in Surrey – and rumours of others to follow – the veterinary profession has called on the college to comment on the desirability, or otherwise, of any change in the number of schools or graduates.
In response, the RCVS has published an official position statement on new veterinary schools, in which it says it has no role in capping student numbers.
The college’s statement explains that the free market and mobility of workers in the EU “makes any control at the level of a sovereign state effectively meaningless with respect to workforce management”.
However, the college is keen to emphasise its commitment to ensuring that standards are maintained, and says it will continue to:
- inspect new veterinary schools before their degrees can be formally approved by the Privy Council
- work with bodies such as the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education, which evaluates veterinary degrees across Europe.
The statement explains: “We look at the establishment of new veterinary schools through the lens of setting, upholding and advancing veterinary standards […] If a veterinary degree course does not meet the detailed standards we have set for accreditation, then we will not recommend it to the Privy Council until it does.”
However, it goes on to say: “We judge each school – new or existing – against the same accreditation criteria and on its own merits. It would not therefore be appropriate for us to take a view on whether a proposed new school was required by the market, as this might be seen to prejudice our impartiality in deciding whether it met the accreditation criteria.”
However, although the college does not take a view on this, it does seek to make all relevant information available to the profession and the public so that informed decisions can be made elsewhere. With this in mind, the full RCVS Survey of Recent Graduates report has now been published.