The RCVS has issued a statement to reassure veterinary surgeons that problems arising from the shortage of isoflurane are very unlikely to be considered as a professional misconduct issue, provided that clinical decisions are justifiable, that detailed notes are made, that the prescribing cascade is followed and that, where unauthorised medicines are being used, informed consent is gained from the animal’s owner.

Amanda Boag, RCVS President, said: "We understand that this is a concerning situation for many in the profession who are worried about the impact of the shortage of isoflurane on both elective and emergency operations.

"We are also concerned to hear that some vets are worried that they may be disciplined by the RCVS for clinical decisions and outcomes that may arise from the shortage, and so we are keen to stress that we understand that members of the profession can only do their best under the circumstances presented to them and that, provided they can clinically justify the decisions they have made, keep detailed notes, gain informed consent and follow the prescribing rules, then there is very unlikely to be an issue of professional misconduct."

If you have questions about the shortage in relation to the Code of Professional Conduct and its supporting guidance, you can contact the RCVS Standards and Advice Team on 020 7202 0789 or advice@rcvs.org.uk

For further information about the shortage and alternative sources and products, the RCVS recommends visiting the Veterinary Medicines Directorate website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/veterinary-medicines-directorate.