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There is no limit to the number of election candidates each year.

A minimum of two elected VN Council members retire each year. Members may serve a maximum of three consecutive three-year terms, after which they would need to wait for two years before re-standing for Council. 


The four UK governments have published advice for people with animals, as follows:

The British Veterinary Association has published guidance for veterinary practices in providing essential veterinary care.

Finally, Public Health England continues to update its guidance on the coronavirus on a regular basis, which includes general advice on social distancing and how you can protect yourself and others.

Last updated: 14 January 2021


We realise that there are differences in opinion within the profession regarding the inclusion of antiparasitics in this part of the guidance.

There are a range of factors set out in the guidance to be taken into consideration when prescribing POM-Vs, and we understand that the opinion of some is that these can simply be applied to antibiotics and antiparasitics to ensure responsible prescribing.

However, it is our view that these medicines should be treated differently to other POM-Vs because the risk of uncontrolled use is greater, for example, resistance and environmental impact.

As such, the guidance requires a physical examination in order to positively impact prescribing behaviours and change attitudes to these medicines.


Yes, so long as a physical examination is carried out at the time the prescription is made.

Please note that because the new guidance requires that a physical examination is carried out at the time of prescribing antiparasitics, a prescription for the whole period to be covered should be made at the time of the physical examination and include directions on how much should be dispensed and when, for example, a 12-month prescription to be dispensed at quarterly or monthly intervals.

Last updated: 9 February 2024


RVP is contextual. What is regarded as routine veterinary practice in relation to a specific veterinary professional, patient, species or condition at one point in time, may not be regarded as routine veterinary practice if carried out by a different veterinary professional in a different clinical setting, in relation to a different patient, species or condition, and/or at a different point in time.

It is also relevant to consider the clinical setting. For example, it may be RVP to carry out a complex new procedure in a large hospital with advanced diagnostic equipment and numerous experienced support staff available to assist if complications were to arise, but it may not be RVP for the same procedure to be carried out by a veterinary surgeon in a small practice with limited equipment and staff. Timing and planning are also important. For example, not undertaking surgery when the practice is about to close (please see Chapter 2 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct, paragraph 15).

Where you have not performed the procedure and technique before, you should consider the following:

  1. Do you possess the required skills, qualifications, and competence to perform the procedure or technique?
    This refers to your relevant experience, training, and knowledge of the proposed procedure or treatment. Have you performed the procedure or applied the treatment before? Have you performed a similar procedure or administered a similar procedure before? Do you hold specialist or advanced practitioner status in the field?
  2. Do you have access to the necessary facilities to perform the procedure or technique?
    This refers to the practice setting, e.g. clinical facilities, diagnostic equipment, surgical equipment, etc.
  3. Is appropriate support available if complications were to arise?
    This refers to the available team support that may be required. Are appropriately qualified staff available and able to provide the assistance that may be required, if necessary, for example, to assist in responding to an emergency arising during the course of treatment, or to provide overnight nursing care if required?

Each term is a maximum of three years, although some may retire early for personal reasons. As above there is a three consecutive term limit that an elected VN Council member can serve, after which they will have to wait two years before re-standing.

Under the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members a mechanism is in place so that Council members may be investigated and potentially removed for issues relating to poor conduct/behaviour. 


Each term is a maximum of four years, although some Council members may retire early for personal reasons.

The term of office remains at four years, but a maximum limit of three consecutive terms has been introduced. A mandatory two-year break is required before a person may stand again.

Under the Code of Conduct for Council and Committee Members a mechanism is in place so that Council members may be investigated and potentially removed for issues relating to poor conduct/behaviour. 


No, this guidance only relates to the prescription of prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs).

Although this guidance does not cover POM-VPS, these should of course be prescribed responsibly and in line with the requirements of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMRs). 


All clinical veterinary research should be subject to ethics review. This includes, but is not limited to, all studies where one would be expected to obtain permission from the owner/keeper of an animal prior to being enrolled, or when consent is needed for use of previously collected samples or the use of data from an animal’s clinical records.

In addition, veterinary surgeons might find it helpful to consult a peer or colleague who is not directly involved in the case, and who is preferably not an employee of the veterinary surgeon or the veterinary practice. A record of the consultation discussion should be made.

Veterinary surgeons in practice may find the BRAN framework useful when undertaking peer review:

  • Benefits – what are the benefits of the procedure or treatment?
  • Risk – what are the risks of this procedure or treatment?
  • Alternatives – what are the alternative procedures or treatments?
  • Nothing – what would happen if nothing was done?

Regarding collection of data in practice, the primary purpose for doing so is clinical, the secondary purpose is internal clinical audit, and the tertiary purpose is collating data from a number of practices for research. Note that ethics review is not required when undertaking internal clinical audits, such as quality improvement work, unless the intention is to publish the results.

Veterinary surgeons, registered veterinary nurses, and veterinary students conducting veterinary clinical research outside the scope of a university, other institute of further education and/or in an industry context and not covered by Home Office licensing under ASPA or other appropriate ethics review bodies may seek ethics review from the RCVS Ethics Review Panel (ERP) or another appropriate panel. For further information about seeking ethics review from the RCVS ERP, please see the Ethics Review Panel page.


This depends on the committees and working parties on which you are asked to sit. RCVS committees generally sit four times a year.

The new smaller Council meets more frequently (usually six, but up to eight, times per year) allowing it to communicate more effectively with the profession and to make decisions in a more timely fashion.

You may also be asked to join a working party on a particular issue, and there may be other College events and activities that you can attend on a voluntary basis.

On average, therefore, successful candidates might expect to spend around 15-to-18 days a year on Council business in terms of formal meetings during their first year on Council. Additional time will be required to attend other committee meetings to which a successful candidate is allocated, as well as to keep on top of emails, read paperwork and so on. 

As your Council career develops, you may be required to take a more active role meaning that you may be expected to spend more than the average days a year on Council business, for example, if you become a Committee Chair or member of the Officer Team.

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