An RCVS councillor has challenged the profession to consider what compulsory practice standards should be in place to ensure practices are fit for doctors to work from.

RCVS councillor Richard Stephenson

Richard Stephenson was speaking at a Royal College council meeting before members voted in favour of the
courtesy title of doctor.

In a bid to align the profession with international colleagues, the council decided UK vets may now use the courtesy title.

The college consulted the profession and the public in 2014, releasing an online consultation in December, before officially approving use of the doctor title.

While Mr Stephenson supported the decision, he said he despaired a profession that aspired to use the title of Dr could question the need for compulsory practice standards.

RCVS chief executive Nick Stace faced a backlash following a debate at VPMA/SPVS Congress when he argued
practice standards should be compulsory
, adding there was public expectation practices are already inspected. Vets then questioned his comments across online forums.

Mr Stephenson said: “The chief executive caused a fair measure of controversy in the profession because he dared to suggest we should have compulsory practice standards.

“I despair that in 2015 a profession that aspires to have an honorific title of Dr can seriously have a debate about whether we should have compulsory practice standards.

“Surely, if we want to have the respect and status of an honorific title, the debate should be about what those standards should be, not about whether we should have any.

“I want to make a challenge to the profession because I don’t think we should regard today as the end of the doctor debate. If this motion is passed I hope it’s going to be the beginning of a new debate about how we’re going to achieve and enforce some of those standards so every veterinary premises is a place fit for doctors to be working from.”

  • For the full story, see Veterinary Times Vol 45.12
  • Will you be using the title of ‘Dr’? Should practice standards be compulsory? Have your say in this week’s poll.
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