The RCVS has called for evidence from vets, vet nurses and animal owners on the provision of 24-hour emergency veterinary care.

The RCVS has called for evidence from vets, vet nurses and animal owners on the provision of 24-hour emergency veterinary care.

In an open letter to the profession and the public published on the RCVS website on December 23, the chairman of the RCVS standards committee, Clare Tapsfield-Wright, explained the reasons behind the initiative.

She said: “Over the past two years, lay people working with the RCVS have raised questions about the veterinary profession’s ability to provide 24/7 to the extent required by the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct, and said there is a disconnect between the public’s expectations and the profession’s capacity to meet those expectations.”

Mrs Tapsfield-Wright also referred to an RCVS disciplinary committee (DC) inquiry in June 2013, which raised a number of issues on home visits by vets, including: speed of response; travelling time and distance; daytime versus out-of-hours obligations; individual versus corporate responsibility; and, staffing levels and contingency plans.

The letter, which is available on the RCVS website www.rcvs.org.uk is accompanied by a range of background information, including the reports of lay observers to the RCVS preliminary investigation committee; working party reports from the college’s 2009 consultation on 24-hour emergency cover; and, further details about the June 2013 DC Inquiry.

Additional feedback will be sought through next year’s RCVS survey of the professions, and via focus group research for animal owners. Once all responses have been collated, the college will invite a number of individuals and organisations to a standards committee meeting (date to be confirmed) to present and discuss their views.

Responses in writing are invited by 5pm on Monday, February 17, 2014, and should be emailed to 24-7@rcvs.org.uk or posted to the Professional Conduct Department, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF

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