RCVS CPD requirements for vet nurses to change

Veterinary Nursing News

RCVS CPD requirements for vet nurses to change

The RCVS has announced far-reaching changes to the CPD requirements for veterinary surgeons, agreed by Council at its June meeting.

The proposals put to Council by the Education Committee included six key recommendations for changes to CPD policy: 

  • To change the CPD requirement – as stated in the Codes of Professional Conduct – to 35 hours per calendar year for veterinary surgeons and 15 hours in the same period for veterinary nurses, from the start of 2020. This replaces the previous requirement of 105 hours and 45 hours of CPD over a rolling three-year period for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses respectively. 

  • Making the use of the new CPD platform (currently in development) for recording learning and development mandatory from 2022. 

  • Giving veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who, upon renewing their registration, have confirmed their compliance with the requirement, the opportunity to download a certificate demonstrating this. 

  • The introduction of an administration fee (which is currently yet to- be determined) that will be charged to any veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses who continually (defined as two or more years in a row) fail to confirm their compliance with the requirement and/or fail to respond to requests from the College for their CPD records.

  • Changing the words of the Codes of Professional Conduct to include the fact that CPD should be ‘regular’ and ‘relevant’.

  • The continuation of the RCVS CPD Referral Group, which meets to consider what further steps should be taken in cases of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who continually fail to comply with CPD requirements and/or respond to requests. 

RCVS Council agreed, by a majority vote, to approve the above recommendations. 

RCVS Council member Dr Sue Paterson (pictured right), who introduced the paper and is the incoming Chair of the Education Committee, said: "While the majority of both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses do recognise the importance of continuous learning and development for their professional practice, their clients and, ultimately, animal health and welfare, it’s clear that there has been a cohort of people in both professions who take a more lax view of undertaking CPD.

"The changes to our CPD policy are intended to tighten up our processes and are targeted at those who, when challenged about why they have not undertaken sufficient CPD, say that they will meet the requirement one or two years down the line as part of the rolling three-year system. The administration fee also recognises the amount of time and effort spent by staff in the College in contacting and chasing up those people who aren’t compliant. 

"However, we also recognise the fact that some members of the profession may have personal circumstances that means they are unable to meet their CPD requirement in a given year – whether that’s because of parental leave or other caring responsibilities, or long-term sick leave. So we will be retaining flexibility within the system and will be considerate and compassionate when taking into account individual circumstances when considering non-compliance.

"Furthermore, in light of the fact that the majority of vets and vet nurses do meet the requirement but also often go above-and-beyond it, we also thought it would be a good idea to introduce a downloadable compliance certificate in recognition of their achievement. This could be displayed, for example, in the practice and would be particularly useful for Practice Standard Scheme assessments.

"Over the coming months we will be fine-tuning the details of these policies and will be making further decisions about how they will work in practice in due course."

Veterinary surgeons and nurses who feel they will struggle to complete their CPD requirement within a 12-month period due to personal circumstances can contact RCVS confidentially at any time to discuss their difficulties on cpd@rcvs.org.uk

For full details about the decision, you can download the RCVS Council paper at: www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/rcvs-council-papers-13-june-2019/


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  • Have they missed the point - a predominantly female profession, which means a higher than level of mat leave. Some nurses are the household second incomes and thus would want to take full advantage of a year of Mat Leave. Others might be gap yearing or working in another jurisdiction.

    This would leave no option but to come off the register at that time - surely not a positive step.

  • I am waiting to see a prescriptive list of what constitutes 'relevant CPD' and the companies that supply it because I can see that one coming next. What is relevant to one practice or nurse may not be relevant to another. I am spending loads of time on H+S at the moment- boring as hell but its what the practice needs. I always cover my CPD requirement and then some but there are years when I do a lot more than others just because that year there may have been more CPD relevant to me available. Whatever was wrong with a 3y rolling tally?  I agree with Ian M this is going to force nurses off the register rather than retain them and once off the register are they really going to want  to come back?- So we have a shortage of nurses now - how is this going to improve matters?

  • When does this start?

  • Different bits start at different times, but the first requirement, which is 15 hours per annum rather than 45 over a rolling 3 year period, starts next year.

  • I do not see this being a problem to be perfectly honest, 15 hrs over the period of a year, really is not too much to ask, especially considering the amount of online cpd available.