More than 500 veterinary surgeons have joined the first cohort of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) advanced practitioners – a status that recognises vets who have advanced qualifications and experience in a specialist area.

Some 637 vets applied for the status, which forms a middle tier of accreditation between those holding the initial veterinary degree and RCVS specialists.

So far, 546 been added to the List of Advanced Practitioners. It is hoped the list will provide a clear indication to both the public and profession of those vets who have demonstrated knowledge and experience with continuing professional development (CPD) above and beyond RCVS requirements in a particular field of clinical practice.

For those added to the list, “advanced practitioner” will now appear after their names in the Check the Register search tool (

Advanced practitioners also appear on the RCVS Find a Vet entry for those practices listed on the search tool and animal owners will be able to specifically search for those holding the status.

Kit Sturgess is a member of RCVS council who chaired the panel that assessed all the applications.

Dr Sturgess said: “We are very pleased to welcome this first cohort of advanced practitioners and it is fair to say both the number of applicants and number of those who successfully made it on to the list exceeded all our expectations.

“The status brings together a wide variety of similar postgraduate qualifications under one heading and, in doing so, brings much needed clarity to both the profession and the public. For example, practices will now be able to more clearly indicate the levels of skills and experience possessed by staff to their clients.

“Being an advanced practitioner will also bring benefits to those holding the status by helping them focus their CPD in a particular area, as well as forging a potential pathway towards specialist status.”

Successful applicants will now have five years until they need to apply to be re-accredited for the status. During this time they will be expected to carry out at least 250 hours of CPD, with 125 hours in the area of their designated field.

The first annual retention fee for the list (£80) is due on July 1, 2015. A new application period for advanced practitioner status will be announced later this year.

The RCVS states those who were previously unsuccessful in their applications are welcome to re-apply.

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