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Veterinary Nursing Schedule 3 Working Party


Our Veterinary Nursing Schedule 3 Working Party was formed in October 2016 following Defra’s suggestion that Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, which allows veterinary surgeons to delegate certain minor surgical procedures and medical treatments to veterinary nurses, could be reviewed in order to bolster the veterinary nursing profession.

It aimed to:

  • Determine what amendments to Schedule 3 are possible via secondary legislation;
  • Undertake a survey of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions to establish a view on Schedule 3 reform;
  • Determine if the College should support further amendments to Schedule 3 to allow VNs to take on additional tasks;
  • Determine if the language of Schedule 3 could be changed to provide greater clarity;
  • Consider if additional or amended supporting guidance to the Codes of Professional Conduct is needed to aid clarity; 
  • Determine if the delegation of certain tasks might be linked to Advanced or Specialist Veterinary Nurse status; and,
  • To consider the impact across the whole veterinary team of any changes to Schedule 3.


  • David Catlow (former RCVS Council)
  • Liz Cox (VN Council)
  • Robin Hargreaves (BVA representative)
  • Racheal Marshall (VN Council Chair)
  • Sam Morgan (former BVNA President)
  • Wendy Preston (human nurse practitioner)
  • Renay Rickard (VPMA representative)
  • Nairn Wilson (former President of the British Dental Association)


Since the formation of the Working Party we have undertaken a survey of both the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions to determine the appetite for reform, particularly in respect of allowing veterinary nurses to undertake additional procedures which they are currently restricted from doing.

Subsequently, guidance on delegation to veterinary nurses, featuring a series of case studies has been published to assist veterinary surgeons and nurses in deciding what tasks can and cannot be delegated. We also recommend reading the Chapter 18 of the supporting guidance 'Delegation to veterinary nurses'. Further case studies will be published in due course.

The part of our remit relating to legislative change has been incorporated into the work of our Legislation Working Party.