Response to Vet Record article on Temporary Registration

30 January 2019

We have today written to the Vet Record in response to an article it published recently about the Temporary Registration of overseas veterinary surgeons.

This letter is set out below for reference:

Dear Editor,

We should like to respond to a comment made in the last edition of the Vet Record (‘Overseas vets are a no-deal Brexit contingency plan’, pp 108-109) that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons had already said ‘yes in principle’ to the Temporary Registration of Asian and South American vets. This is not the case.

Understandably, since the article’s publication, we have been contacted with concerns about the potential for a lowering of standards if this allowed vets from non-accredited universities to practise veterinary medicine in the UK without undertaking the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership (‘stat exam’). We would therefore like to reiterate the information we supplied to the Vet Record when approached for a comment.

Temporary registration is not a new concept, but has been provided for since 1966 under Section 7 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act. RCVS Council did, however, approve new guidance on it last November.

Temporary registration gives the RCVS discretion to allow individuals who are not otherwise entitled to full Registration to be registered, subject to restrictions and conditions. It is very different to RCVS registration achieved by passing the stat exam. Passing the stat exam means vets are able to practise freely, for however long, in whatever sector of the profession they are best qualified to do so; whereas temporary registration allows vets to practise in the UK for a set period of time, in a specific location, under supervision by MsRCVS/FsRCVS and under pre-agreed parameters of practice. Such registrants would not themselves be MsRCVS and so would be unable to certify or issue prescriptions. Temporary registration does not allow the practising of veterinary surgery other than subject to such restrictions as are imposed.

Unfortunately, when we were approached by the Vet Record on this issue, we were not made aware of any quotes or comments suggesting that we had agreed in principle to any applications for temporary registration being made. We have not made any such agreements. All applications for temporary registration are considered on their merits by our Registration Sub-committee, which makes decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Yours faithfully, 

Eleanor Ferguson
RCVS Registrar


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