The new royal charter: how veterinary nurses are affected

Published on: 4 Mar 2015

Royal Charter

Image courtesy Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' new royal charter has now come into effect, with the result that the UK veterinary nursing profession is now regulated.

In the wake of these changes, veterinary nurses do not get listed anymore, and everyone who was on the list before has effectively been transferred to the newly created register. Those registered veterinary nurses will also be entitled to use the post-nominal letters RVN.

At the same time, nurses will, under the new arrangements, have to complete at least 45 hours of training or continuing professional development (CPD) every three years.

They will also have to follow the RCVS’s Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, and, in any cases of serious professional misconduct, will have these matters dealt with under the college’s disciplinary procedures. Any nurse struck off or suspended from the register will no longer be entitled to give medical treatment or carry out minor surgery.

The new charter, which was approved by a meeting of the Privy Council last autumn, received the Great Seal of the Realm and was collected from the House of Lords by RCVS registrar Gordon Hockey and policy consultant Jeff Gill (pictured) on February 17, 2015.

Mr Hockey said it was "a proud day" for the college and the profession as a whole. It took a lot of hard work to reach this result, and Mr Hockey thanked the many people that helped along the way, since they first consulted on the proposed charter in 2014.

The royal charter clarifies the role the Royal College plays, as well as its aims and objectives, while also modernising a number of its regulatory functions.

Mr Hockey added: "This represents another significant step towards the college becoming a first rate regulator.”

The charter also fulfils one of the college’s long-term goals of having a robust regulatory system in place for nurses in the veterinary profession, and recognises these key workers as genuine, committed professionals, dedicated to proper conduct and professional development.

This autumn, as they renew membership, veterinary nurses who were previously on the list will need to confirm their CPD and reveal any criminal convictions, rulings against them or cautions when they come to renew their registration.

Annual renewal fees for veterinary nurses have not changed.