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December 2022 meeting summary

On 8 December, the LLFL Working Party held its second meeting. The primary focus was the relationship between the RCVS ‘Day One Competencies’ for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses and potential barriers to entry to the profession. The Working Party membership is diverse and made up of veterinary surgeons with lived experience of disabilities, and also has representatives from Vet Schools Council and the veterinary nursing profession.

The papers encouraged Working Party members to consider what it means to be a veterinary professional, and whether it should be acceptable to use assistance (for example a veterinary surgeon having support from a veterinary nurse) to demonstrate certain competencies and skills, provided that you possess the necessary theoretical knowledge.

Working Party members discussed whether the veterinary nursing role may require further exploration in relation to disability due to its practical nature, and this will be discussed in a later meeting with a particular focus on restraining animals.

Discussion also centred on ‘reasonable adjustments’ and if they are being used to their full potential, and if not what the vet schools can do in relation to this, and whether further guidance from the College may be useful.

In addition, there was an exploration into widening participation. A paper presented by the British Chronic Veterinary Illness Society suggested that when considering widening participation there is often a focus on gender and race, and that disability may require more emphasis.

A general takeaway from this meeting was that there should be a focus on what people can do, rather than what they cannot, and that in each case there will be different variations and challenges. Disability is not one tangible thing and will differ from person to person, even if for example the condition that leads to a person identifying as disabled is the same.

A further meeting will be held at the start of March.