Skip to content

SPVS VMG virtual congress 2021


Thank you for visiting the RCVS virtual stand at this year's SPVS VMG Congress, taking place between Thursday, 13 May to Friday, 14 May 2021.  We are delighted to be taking part.

Throughout the Congress, we will be on hand to talk about our key activities and to answer your questions. We have provided some useful information and resources below on current projects and initiatives that we are currently working on, which will support you in your career and within your veterinary practice.

Please click on the links or scroll down:




We quality-assure undergraduate veterinary education and, under our Charter, offer postgraduate qualifications for both vets and vet nurses. We also set the amount of continuing professional development (CPD) that must be carried out each year.

Find out more below about two key developments from our Education team:  


We introduced changes to CPD at the start of 2020, which included outcomes-focused CPD, incorporating reflection into the ‘plan, do, record, reflect’ cycle, as well as 1CPD, our platform to help you manage your CPD throughout the year. We are also starting a ‘CPD Buddy’ initiative.

A mobile phone screen displaying the 1CPD app

In this section you will be able to find relevant information and resources to help you plan, do, record and reflect on your CPD.

1CPD App 

Have you used the 1CPD platform yet? Launched last year, it has replaced the Professional Development Record (PDR) and is available in both app and desktop versions.

Find out more, download and start using it by visiting the 1CPD page on our website.

If you are unsure about using the 1CPD app, you may find it useful to watch the recordings of the online workshops we held recently for new users, which include a live Q&A with participants. 

Are you passionate about CPD?

Can you help support your colleagues in practice by being their ‘go-to’ person with CPD questions? If so, maybe you could become a CPD Buddy.

Plan, Do, Record, Reflect

Our new outcomes-focused CPD model was introduced in early 2020, and emphasises the quality, impact and relevance of your CPD. It is structured around a ‘plan, do, record, reflect’ cycle. Reflective practice becomes compulsory from January 2022, so we would encourage you to begin as soon as possible.



From summer 2021, we are introducing changes to the way veterinary graduates are supported during their transition from vet school to their first job. New graduates will no longer enrol onto the Professional Development Phase (PDP) and will instead be part of our new structured programme of support: the Veterinary Graduate Development Programme, or VetGDP.

What you need to do

We are asking that practices or other workplaces wishing to employ veterinary graduates from summer 2021 have committed to becoming an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice, to ensure that graduates receive the developmental support required. Becoming an approved practice involves having a trained VetGDP Adviser. 

Could you become a VetGDP Adviser? 

Can you help support and develop the veterinary graduates you employ from summer 2021?

If you are a vet who has been on the UK-practising register for a minimum of three years and have the capacity to offer structured ongoing support to veterinary graduates in your workplace, then this highly rewarding and fulfilling role could be right for you.

We are offering free online training to vets who would like to become VetGDP Advisors.

VetGDP workshops 

We recently held a series of interactive workshops, with Q&A from participants, to help employers plan their veterinary graduate recruitment this year. If you were unable to join the live events, there is a recording available for you to watch at a time that’s convenient for you.

If you have any questions about VetGDP, please get in touch with the Education team by emailing



Advice and feedback

Covid-19 guidance

As the regulator for vets and vet nurses in the UK, our priority is the health and safety of those we regulate.

Throughout the pandemic, we have continually updated our coronavirus advice hub to help you to make decisions that will enable you to protect yourselves and your clients, whilst continuing to provide the best care you can to your patients at this extremely challenging time.

As we begin to emerge from lockdown restrictions, please keep a close eye on the coronavirus hub for all our latest advice and guidance.

View the coronavirus advice hub

Legislation Working Party

Between 2017 and 2020, the RCVS Legislation Party (LWP) carried out a root-and-branch review of the legislation which governs the veterinary professions, as well as our role in interpreting and enforcing this legislation as the veterinary regulator.

The LWP report

Cover of the Legislation Working Party Report to Council (June 2020) Download the Report of the Legislation Working Party (LWP) which contains a series of wide-ranging recommendations for future reform, such as underpinning the ‘vet-led team’, creating a new ‘Fitness to Practice’ disciplinary system, and a framework for the regulation of veterinary practices.


A consultation on the LWP’s recommendations closed on 23 April 2021, and the results are currently being analysed. These will then be considered by RCVS Council in the summer.

If you would like to find out more about these proposals, please visit our legislation review page for further information.

Under Care and 24/7 out of hours emergency cover

Despite a number of delays due to the pandemic, our review of 'under care' and out-of-hours emergency cover continues, having now completed a number of virtual focus groups and consultation with stakeholders within the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions.

We will soon be sending a survey to all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses, along with stakeholder organisations and the animal-owning public.

Schedule 3

SUPERB PosterVeterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Schedule 3 Amendment) Order 2002 (‘Schedule 3’), provides that vets may direct registered or student veterinary nurses who they employ to carry out limited veterinary surgery.

Schedule 3 tasks

  • We do not have a list of tasks/procedures that can be delegated under Schedule 3, however Chapter 18 of the supporting guidance, covers delegation of veterinary nurses and provides guidance on the maintenance and monitoring of anaesthesia (paragraph 18.9), vaccination of companion animals (18.10 – 18.12) and dentistry (paragraph 18.13 – 18.14).

In order to assist vets when considering delegating tasks to veterinary nurses, we produced a ‘SUPERB’ checklist poster last year, which sets out a six-point checklist of the key things vets should consider.

Unqualified people

Whilst practices employ staff who aren’t vets or nurses, regardless of their training these people should be regarded as unqualified or laypeople and their job title should not mislead and should reflect their difference from qualified members of staff.

Further guidance can be found in Chapter 19 of the supporting guidance 

New rules for pet travel

New rules for pet travel have been in place since 1 January 2021, and an animal health certificate is now needed for dogs, cats and ferrets for travel from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland. 

The updated government guidance can be found on the website, and DEFRA’s social media content regarding the rules can be found on Twitter.

Changes to the prescribing Cascade

Changes were also made to the prescribing Cascade from 1 January 2021, to distinguish between veterinary surgeons practising in Great Britain and those practising in Northern Ireland.

As ever, in the first instance a veterinary surgeon should prescribe a medicine authorised in the jurisdiction where they are practising, for use in the target species, for the condition being treated, and used at the manufacturer's recommended dosage.

Where there is no such medicine available, the veterinary surgeon responsible for treating the animal(s) may, in particular to avoid unacceptable suffering, treat the animal(s) in accordance with the Cascade.

The VMD explainer can be found on the website, and in the updated Chapter 4 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct.

New guidance for delegating veterinary work to musculoskeletal therapists

The RCVS Standards Committee approved new guidance in November 2020 to give greater clarity to veterinary surgeons who work with musculoskeletal therapists (MSKs).

The new guidance, found in Chapter 19 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct, sets out the existing rules for musculoskeletal treatment of illness, disease or pathology, and clarifies that healthy animals do not require a veterinary referral for maintenance care.

The guidance stresses that MSKs are part of the vet-led team, and that any animal, including healthy ones, should be registered with a veterinary surgeon and referred to a vet at the first sign of any symptoms that may suggest underlying health issues.



VN Futures

Male veterinary nurse examining a cat in a clinical settingVN Futures is an ongoing project that aims to ensure that veterinary nursing is a vibrant, rewarding, and sustainable profession – now and into the future.

The project seeks to address the challenges veterinary nursing is likely to face over the coming years – tackling how best to respond to these issues, whilst looking forward to a dynamic VN profession through exploring the opportunities.

The VN Futures is a joint initiative from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA).

To find out more about VN Futures, please visit the VN Futures website.

School Ambassadors Development Group

Our School Ambassadors work aims to inspire the next generation of veterinary nurses and addresses the need to highlight and support pathways into the veterinary nursing profession through delivering careers advice and information about veterinary nursing to school age children

The work of the School Ambassadors Development Group aims to create approaches to delivery of veterinary nursing careers information, including the need to support widening participation to facilitate increasing diversity in our profession. Our ultimate goals is to create a support pack to enable future ambassadors to continue this important work.

If you are interested in this project, then please contact us with any questions.

Diversity and Inclusion

There are so many important reasons to diversify our workforce. We must reflect the communities we live and work in. We must be an example to young people who often cannot see themselves doing this work because there are not enough role models from diverse backgrounds for them to look to. Incorporating as many different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives into the profession can only benefit the team, pet owners and animal welfare. These aims are reflected in the recently published RCVS Diversity & Inclusion Strategy. 

Could you or one of your team members be a role model for diversity in veterinary nursing?

Please contact the project manager, if you would like to come forward.

Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (CertAVN)

The VN Futures Post-Registration Qualification Working Group developed the framework for a new Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (or CertAVN). The CertAVN framework was approved by the RCVS Veterinary Nurse Education Committee and RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council in 2019.

The CertAVN qualification aims to encourage registered veterinary nurses who wish to take their education in a specific area of veterinary nursing practice further, with an opportunity to study a level 6 or 7 qualification. This provides veterinary nurses with an opportunity to progress to the next stage of their career and to integrate advanced skills into everyday nursing practice.

Career case studies

A career in veterinary nursing uncovers many diverse opportunities and can offer pathways in many aspects of animal healthcare and welfare, from primary care nursing practice to supervisory and management roles, teaching and mentoring and practice development. Supporting nurses’ career development is an important factor in providing role satisfaction and promoting retention of nurses in the profession.

Read our new case studies from veterinary nurses in a variety of different roles, and from a wide range of backgrounds and educational pathways. We are always looking for further case studies to share, so please contact us if you can help.

Maximising potential

The VN Futures project aims to address some of the challenging issues in veterinary nursing and identify and exploit opportunities to progress the profession.

‘Maximising nurses’ potential’, one of the six key ambitions of the VN Futures Report and Action Plan, is a hugely diverse topic, which covers many aspects of the veterinary nursing profession and also needs input and ‘buy-in’ from the wider veterinary team.

This ambition encompasses and interlinks with many other aims of the VN Futures project, for example, to provide ‘structured and rewarding career paths’ for veterinary nurses. The project has approached this ambition through a variety of streams of work, and a selection of these are highlighted on the VN Futures website.

VN Futures webinars

Over the course of 2020, VN Futures delivered a series of three webinars addressing issues around recognition of the value of veterinary nurses’ work, including maximising the potential of veterinary nurses and leadership opportunities within the profession.

We would encourage nurses, vets, practice managers and practice owners/directors to register to watch these webinars via the Webinar Vet website, as they address topics that will influence and benefit the whole practice team.

Leadership (VN) Championship videos

In 2019 the RCVS launched the Inspiring Veterinary Leaders Campaign showcasing some of the veterinary leaders of today and tomorrow Inspiring Veterinary Leaders in the profession.

Hear from three inspiring VN leaders by watching their Leadership stories now.  

CPD Buddies

Can you help support your colleagues in practice by being their ‘go-to’ person with CPD questions? If so, maybe you could become a CPD Buddy

Overseas veterinary nurses

Are you one of the many veterinary nurses attending SPVS VMG Congress who currently practises outside the UK? Would you like a career as a veterinary nurse in the UK?

Maybe you are a manager who wishes to support the transition of overseas nurses into the profession?

Only veterinary nurses registered with the RCVS can be delegated to administer medical treatment and perform minor surgery in the UK. This means that if you are interested in working in the UK you must apply to register. The RCVS welcomes applications from veterinary nurses from all over the world. The application process differs depending on which country you qualified in and the qualification you hold. 

The RCVS have created a new online course entitled ‘Introduction to the UK veterinary professions – online CPD course for vets and VNs’, which is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses during their first two years working in the UK.

Get involved with VN Futures

Vet professionals examining a dog in a clinical settingPlease visit the VN Futures website where you will find:

  • More information about VN Futures and our initiatives
  • Career case studies
  • Information on the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing
  • Links to VN Futures webinars
  • Blogs and short articles 

Have a say in the future of your profession

The VN Futures project has achieved many positive changes within the profession over the past four years. VN Futures is a two-way process, and we need engagement from the profession to achieve the most from the project.

We are listening, and over the coming months will gather opinion and input on what veterinary nurses feel are the key challenges and opportunities in the profession and generate areas of focus for the next phase of VN Futures. We aim to do this through a series of short surveys, so please look out for further information, and ensure your voice is heard.

Contact VN Futures

If you would like to be involved with VN Futures, have an idea, would like to write a blog for us, or would just like to offer some feedback; we would love to hear from you.

Please contact the Jill Macdonald, VN Futures Project Coordinator on or 07867 301 723.



Advancement of the Professions 

Welcome to the Advancement of the Professions area. The AP Directorate and Committee are committed to delivery of work that is non-statutory in nature, and contributes to the advancement of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions. This means that a broad range of topics are covered such as mental health (MMI), Diversity & Inclusion, Innovation (ViVet), Sustainability, Leadership, the RCVS Fellowship, and others. Our aim is to bring these workstreams together where possible to collaborate and to provide both strategic and operational outputs where appropriate. Our new Diversity & Inclusion strategy is below, along with information on ViVet, Leadershipship and MMI. 

Mind Matters Initiative

The Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including students, veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers. MMI was launched in 2015 and is funded and run by the RCVS.

Our work is divided into three streams of activity: Prevent, Protect and Support. Below is an overview of our activities in each of the three workstreams. For more information on these, or to find out what else we are working on, check out the MMI website


Through our Prevent stream, we are proactively looking at systemic issues within the veterinary profession to help minimise the chance of people becoming unwell. Our anti-stigma activities, student support and research-focused activities also fall under the Prevent stream.


A programme of communications and training designed to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to stay well, even when working under challenging conditions.


Financial and other support for existing independent services, such as Vet Support NI, Vetlife Helpline and Vetlife Health Support, together with an investigation into what more may be required to support those in need, and catalysing the development of those services.

2020 was the busiest year on record for the charity Vetlife, and to help finance the uplift in demand, the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative has provided additional funding to the Vetlife Health Support service. 

RCVS Leadership Initiative

Inspired by the Vet Futures and VN Futures projects, the RCVS Leadership initiative seeks to meet our strategic ambition ‘to become a Royal College with leadership… at its heart, and support this creatively and with determination.’

The initiative is focused around three areas of work: 

1. Leadership for everyone

Promoting the importance of self-reflection and the development of leadership skills as key aspects of veterinary professionals’ continuing education and providing the resources to help support such development.

2. Leading the profession

Ensuring that, as an organisation, the RCVS is an exemplar of leadership development and is fit to lead the professions.

3. Tomorrow's leaders

Highlighting the diverse range of leadership development opportunities for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses, the roles and positions these could lead to, and the impact they could have on the future of the professions.

To learn more about RCVS Leadership and the work we will undertake to meet the initiatives aims, please take a look at the RCVS Leadership Three-Year Plan.

Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme

On 13 November 2018, as part of our Leadership Initiative, we launched the Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme - a free-to-access MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

More information about the programme is available to view

Inspiring Veterinary Leaders

At Royal College Day 2019 we launched a showcase of diverse roles and experience highlighting some of the veterinary leaders of today and tomorrow.

The Inspiring Veterinary Leaders campaign takes a look at 12 veterinary professionals and their different leadership journeys, each of which can be viewed from our dedicated showcase page.

Leadership Webinar Series

As a part of our Leadership initiative, we ran a series of free webinars for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to address the challenges of leading and working with colleagues and clients through the coronavirus pandemic.

The hour-long sessions were a collaboration with the Tavistock Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that applies social science methodologies to contemporary issues and problems, and were led by experts in the field of organisational development and change.

ViVet: The Network for Veterinary Innovation

ViVet is a wide-ranging programme to support veterinary professionals to engage with innovation and to encourage innovators to engage with the veterinary professions when launching new products or services. In doing so it seeks to put veterinary professionals at the centre of innovation in the animal health sector.

The programme showcases new technologies and businesses, and provides practical advice on launching new products and services, through online resources and events. Under the programme regulatory advice and guidance will be made available to help veterinary professionals working at the forefront of innovation or those from outside the profession seeking to bring new products or services to the veterinary or animal health market.

The programme will help us to gain insights into the market and how it is evolving, allowing us to develop a regulatory framework that is adaptable to 21st century technology, fostering and supporting innovation, whilst at the same protecting animal health and welfare.

Workshop Session: Design thinking - A practical problem solving process

Friday, 14 May 2021 from 12:20pm 

This quick introductory workshop will run within the SPVS VMG Congress programme and is aimed at enabling veterinary professionals to learn about the design thinking principles and how this can be used for tackling challenges and problems within their everyday practice.

Design thinking is an innovative problem solving process that anyone can use in all areas of veterinary practice.  By using empathy, creative thinking and experimentation, it is a method by which teams can collectively create meaningful solutions to problems or challenges.

The five steps that make up the design thinking process:

  • Empathise
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Join us at the workshop on Friday, 14 May 2021 from 12:20pm to find out more!

Podcasts: Innovation in the workplace 

Developed as part of our ViVet initiative, designed to ensure veterinary professionals are at the centre of innovation in the animal health sector.

The full series is available - we hope you enjoy them and find them helpful. They can of course be counted towards your CPD targets if they align with your objectives for the year. 

Innovation podcast graphic


Reports: ViVet Innovation Symposium

Our biennial Innovation Symposium, bringing together veterinary professionals and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss the evolving role of the veterinary professions and the advancements in both companion and production animal care in the UK and across the world.

The full reports and session recordings from the day are available to view.

Keynote - Survival in the New Normal: the Impact of Digitisation on Customer Behaviour

Keynote speaker Nancy Rademaker, a partner in nexxworks, a digital consultancy, began her address with a question: “Do you know this object?” she asked the audience, showing them a picture of an old-fashioned rotary dial telephone. Every member of the audience agreed that, yes, they did know what the object was. She then asked: “Do you know how to operate this object?” When every member of the audience agreed that they knew how to operate the telephone, she said: “So all of us are ‘old normal’.”

Read the full report. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion Working Group (DIG)

Chaired by Dr Niall Connell MRCVS, our Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (DIG) aims to break down barriers with regards to selection, recruitment and retention to encourage more diversity within the professions – including, but not limited to, ethnic, socio-economic and sexual orientation diversity.

Diversity and Inclusion Group Strategy

We launched our Diversity & Inclusion Group (DIG) Strategy on 17 February 2021, setting out how we will work to help create veterinary professions where everyone can flourish and which have no place for discrimination.

Read the Diversity and Inclusion Group Strategy.

Diversity statement cover image



Information for vets coming from overseas  

Registering in the UK 

Working as a veterinary surgeon in the UK

Only veterinary surgeons registered with us can practise veterinary medicine in the UK. We also register veterinary nurses and veterinary premises. 

RCVS membership licenses you to practise veterinary surgery in the UK; it does not exempt you from UK entry visa or immigration requirements where applicable. Applicants are advised to ascertain these before attempting entry into the UK.

Information and assistance can be obtained from the British Embassy or the UK Home Office. Applicants seeking long-term employment in the UK may need a work permit, which can only be obtained by an employer.

Am I eligible?

As a veterinary surgeon, there are several different routes to registering with the RCVS depending on where you graduated from.

You are eligible to register if you graduated from Australia, South Africa or New Zealand and you have obtained an RCVS Council recognised qualification.

If you graduated from the USA or Canada then your university must have been accredited by the AVMA Council on Education at the time of your graduation your scores for the NBE/CCT or NAVLE must meet RCVS requirements (for tests taken after 1992 you must have achieved a score of 425 or over, for tests taken before 1992, your score must be no more than 1 standard deviation below the mean). If you meet this criteria then you are eligible to register.

You are all also eligible to register if you graduated in Europe and your university was approved or accredited at the time that you gained your qualification. Check whether your university is eligible.

Please note: you must also be able to demonstrate that you can communicate in English at an appropriate level. This can be demonstrated by taking either the International Language Testing System (IELTS) or the veterinary version of the Occupational English Test (OET).

For more information and to check whether your qualification makes you eligible to register as a member of the RCVS please visit the RCVS our regstration applications page

How do I register?

All applicants must provide documents relating to identification, qualifications and a letter of good standing. Where relevant an English test certificate will also be required. The registration process takes 20 days from receiving all your documents.

Please note: Some countries may be asked to provide some additional supporting documents.

All applicants will need to pay a registration fee, complete an application form and attend a registration appointment.

Please note: due to the pandemic, we are currently carrying out video appointments via Microsoft Teams, although in normal circumstances we would invite applicants to the RCVS office in London for a face-to-face appointment.

For more information, you may contact the Registration team via or 020 7202 0707. 

Statutory Membership Examination

The RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership takes place once per year.

The first component is a multiple-choice-question test which is held in late April/early May. This paper is delivered remotely, meaning that you may attempt it using your own computer, from a suitable location of your choosing.

Candidates who pass the written component will take the practical OSCE component at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine in July.

If you are interested in taking the exam, you can begin this process at any time by submitting a declaration of intention to sit. Please see our examination webpage for the required forms and the examination guidance document.

Introduction to the UK Veterinary Professions online course 

The ‘Introduction to the UK veterinary profession – online CPD course for overseas vets and VNs’ is run by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and VDS Training.

This two-part online course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses during their first two years working in the UK, as well as those considering working here. It will help to equip you with the vital knowledge and insight needed to work as a veterinary professional in UK veterinary practice.

You will hear from representatives of the RCVS, VDS Training, Veterinary Nurses Council, British Veterinary Association, VetAbroad and the charity Vetlife, and have the chance to ask questions.

Course format

The course is divided into two parts as follows: 

1.     Online pre-recorded talks and a live Question & Answer session (both free of charge)

2.     Online live communications skills training session (£150 + VAT)

You do not have to complete both parts of the course, but may choose what is suitable for you.

The communications skill training in part 2 is a practical and participatory part of the course which is run by VDS Training.

To find out more information about the course including dates for 2021 and how to register, please visit our Introduction to the UK Veterinary Professions page. 

Practice Standards Scheme

The Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices in the UK. Through setting standards and carrying out regular assessments, the Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care.

In this section you will find key information about the Scheme.

Not yet RCVS-accredited?

Are you considering whether the Practice Standards Scheme is right for your practice, or would like to find out more? Visit our webpage on RCVS accreditation or information on the different levels of accreditation you can apply foir, as well as a step-by-step guide to support you through the application process.

Already accredited?

In this section you will be able to find helpful information and resources to help your practice operate within the Practice Standards Scheme including information on remote assessments.

Practice Standards Awards

Once your practice premises has achieved accreditation you may apply for optional Awards in specific areas, to denote where your practice excels. Find out about the awards you can apply for, as well as a step-by-step guide to awards assessment.

Remote assessments

In response to the pandemic, we are conducting virtual assessments for the time being. See up to date virtual assessment information on our Remote assessment page. We also have a guide to remote PSS assessments for practices available to download and view.

Our up to date Frequently Asked Questions page is available to answer queries you might have. 

Helpful information and resources

If you are looking for ways to promote your accreditation, please visit our resources section to help you promote your RCVS-accreditation to your clients.

Competition time! 

To be in with a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet during the Congress, simply answer three questions on the content within this webpage. 

Please submit your answers via this form and good luck!


Contact us

The following teams will be available to speak to throughout the SPVS VMG Congress, so you can get in touch with them directly:

Exterior of Belgravia HouseEducation team

Advice team

VN team

PSS team

Alternatively, you can submit your query by completing this form.