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RCVS provide reassurance over recent Council decision to review ‘under care’ and 24/7 cover

19 June 2019

We would like to acknowledge and address a number of concerns that have arisen amongst the profession following RCVS Council’s discussion last week that followed up queries raised during the previous debate in November, around the provision of telemedicine services, including remote prescribing.

The RCVS Council decision, made unanimously, was to proceed with a wide-ranging review of RCVS supporting guidance concerning 24-hour emergency cover and the interpretation and application of ‘under veterinary care’, and to postpone the proposed telemedicine trial for the foreseeable future and certainly until the conclusion of this review. The review will encompass, but not be limited to, consideration of what restrictions or safeguards to place on remote prescribing in the form of vet-to-client telemedicine.

RCVS Council discussed this paper ‘in committee’ in order to be able to examine the confidential legal advice it had requested at its previous meeting. The decision to hold these discussions privately was purely related to the privileged nature of legal advice and in no way related to any ‘commercial interests’.

We recognise fully that this is a complex issue, with strong views held on all sides. However, it is entirely right and proper for RCVS Council members to be able to discuss and debate such topics in detail, before reaching a decision through a vote. In the course of such discussions, issues may arise that had not previously been identified, and which may alter the original direction of thinking.

We appreciate that Council’s decision was perhaps unexpected, especially as the original topic had been under consideration for some time. This is why we announced it as soon as possible, along with an indication of what Council would like to happen next.

Whilst it is far too early to have worked out the details of the agreed review, it will be open and inclusive in parallel with our previous consultations, which continue to receive considerable levels of engagement across the veterinary professions and wider industry stakeholders.

We will publish full details about our plans for this review over the coming weeks, and will continue to work hard to engage all veterinary professionals in these important decisions.

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