The RCVS has set out a new methodology and timeline for its review of its guidance to the profession on ‘under care’ and 24/7 out-of-hours emergency cover.

The review, which had been due to start in late 2019, will now start in April 2020. 

Melissa Donald, Chair of the RCVS Standards Committee (pictured right), said: "Regretfully, as the scope and complexity of the review became clearer following Council’s approval of the project, it was also apparent that the original methodology, and the timetable set for it, was not going to be suitable to the task.

"Therefore, over the past few months, the Standards Committee and College staff have been working hard with the external research agency to revise the methodology and we have now reached the stage where we are confident we have got it right, and can now proceed with the review. 

“While we regret the delay, as this review relates to fundamental principles about the provision of veterinary care, it is vital we get it right and that the process is as comprehensive as possible. It is better that it is right than rushed.”

Under the new methodology the review has been split into the following stages:

  • An evidence-gathering stage comprising focus group discussions across the UK. For this stage the external research agency will be inviting a wide range of vets from across different sectors and practices to give their views. There will also be a separate focus group discussion for veterinary nurses. The outcome of these discussions will inform the format of and questions to be included in the second-stage survey. Stakeholders, including representative bodies and other veterinary groups, will also be asked for their input at this stage.
  • Following the analysis of the focus group discussions, an online survey for the veterinary professions will be launched in summer and will be live for six weeks. Informed by the views arising from the focus groups, this survey will invite views and feedback from the professions.
  • Any proposed changes to the Code of Professional Conduct and its supporting guidance on the concept of ‘under care’ and 24/7 emergency cover arising from the survey will be the subject of public consultation. 

Melissa added: “Invitations to our regional focus group discussions, which will be selected randomly from amongst the professions by our research agency, will be going out soon and I would urge anyone who receives an invitation to come along and share their views and ideas.”

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