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Veterinary premises

How to register a veterinary premises and renew or make changes to your premises’ registration.

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About veterinary premises registration

Shelves of veterinary medicines at a practice premises medicine storeIn order to supply medicines, veterinary premises must be registered. This includes branch practices. We (the RCVS) hold this register on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

The VMD is responsible for assuring the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines.

Find out more about the role of the VMD

Find out more about medicines regulations and practice premises

What counts as a veterinary premises?

In the following situations, the location counts as a veterinary premises and therefore needs to be registered.

  • A premises where veterinary surgeons (vets) provide veterinary services.
  • A premises that is advertised or promoted as being part of a veterinary practice.
  • A premises that is open to members of the public to bring animals for veterinary treatment and care.
  • A premises that is not open to the public but where a vet practises or provides veterinary services to more than one client.
  • A premises to which medicines are delivered wholesale, on the authority of one or more practising veterinary surgeons. This applies even if those medicines have not yet been used or have only been used on your own animals or those of family and/or friends.
  • A charity premises open to members of the public to bring animals for veterinary treatment and care.
  • A charity premises that’s used as a base to provide veterinary services to other clients.
  • A charity premises where drugs are delivered and/or supplied from the premises and stored there overnight.
  • A stall at an exhibition or show promoting a practice where medicines are supplied but there is no vet present. In this situation, a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) must be present. If the stall is an extension of a registered premises and there is a vet there, the stall does not need to be registered.
  • A stall at an exhibition or show operating solely to supply veterinary medicines. A mobile unit such as a marquee or a vet’s car must be related to the promotion of a registered premises treating animals. It cannot solely be used as a mobile shop to supply medicines.

In the following situations, the location or unit is not considered a veterinary premises and therefore does not need to be registered.

  • A mobile or ambulatory unit linked to a registered bricks and mortar premises. This is the case even if no veterinary services or medicines are provided from the premises itself.
  • A stall at an exhibition or show promoting a registered premises where there is a vet present. Small quantities of veterinary medicines can be supplied, as long as the stall is an extension of the registered premises. An RCVS-registered vet must also be present if medicines are being supplied.
  • A charity or business premises where small quantities of medicines are left to be prescribed later. In this case a record of this premises must be made.

If you’re unsure whether a premises needs to be registered

If you’re unsure whether your premises needs to be registered, please contact the Registration Team.
We may need to liaise with the VMD before offering guidance.

Medicines regulations and practice premises

Veterinary surgeons must keep a record of premises and other places where they store or keep medicines. For example, practice vehicles and homes where medicines are kept for on-call purposes.

These locations or vehicles do not need to be registered with the RCVS, but they must be on this record.

The record should be kept at your practice’s main veterinary practice premises.

If you keep medicines at home

If you practise from your home and supply medicines to others, your home must be registered as a veterinary premises.

Your home does not need to be registered if you store small quantities of medicines, for example for on call purposes. However, this store of medicines must be recorded at a registered veterinary premises.

See chapter 4 of the supporting guidance to the Code for more information.

Inspection of practice premises

Registered veterinary premises are inspected by the VMD or, if they’re in the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS), by a PSS inspector to:

  • improve traceability of Controlled Drugs, and
  • ensure that veterinary surgeons are compliant with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

The frequency of these inspections is determined using a risk-based approach. Premises that are compliant with medicines regulations will be inspected every 4 years. However, less compliant premises may be inspected more frequently.

For more information on the statutory fee for a VMD inspection  see Registration and inspection of veterinary practice premises.

If your practice is part of the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS), it will not be inspected by the VMD. Compliance with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations will be assessed during your PSS inspection.

Registering a new veterinary premises

How to register a new premises

*Applications can only be accepted within four weeks of the veterinary premises opening date. Your premises will be immediately liable for an inspection.

Practice names

Practice names are a form of advertising. This means that your practice name must comply with our Code of Conduct (advertising, endorsements, and publicity). You should also consider the PSS Rules if you want your practice to become accredited in future.

The words 'vet' and 'veterinary' are regulated words. If you wish to incorporate your practice with Companies House, you'll need a letter of non-objection (LONO) from the RCVS.

A LONO is not required if you do not plan to incorporate your practice at Companies House.

For advice on:

  • advertising and your practice name,
  • use of the word 'specialist', and
  • LONOs

please contact the Advice Team on 020 7202 0789 or at [email protected].

For advice in relation to:

  • your practice name and the PSS Rules, and
  • use of the word ‘hospital’

please contact the PSS Team on 020 7202 0767 or at [email protected].

About the registration fee

The registration fee is per premises. This means that if you have one main premises and two branch premises, your annual fee for the whole practice group will be three times the registration fee.

Your registration fee covers the registration of your premises until the next renewal date (1 April each year).

See our fees page

New premises inspections

Your premises will have an inspection within six months of opening. You’ll be contacted to arrange this.

Who can register a premises

Anybody involved with a practice may register it as a veterinary premises. However, it’s helpful if we have a single point of contact at your practice for any correspondence.

If you are part of a practice group, invoices for the annual registration fee will be sent to the head office of your practice group.

Appearing on Find a Vet

If your premises is a veterinary practice open to the public you will be sent an additional form to complete. This form ensures that all your practice details are listed on our online search tool Find a Vet.

Find a Vet is a leading search tool for finding a veterinary practice in the UK. It’s used by the public and profession alike.

Annual renewal of veterinary premises registration

Your premises’ registration must be renewed by 1 April every year. We will invoice you for the annual registration fee up to four weeks before it’s due.

If we don’t receive your fee by 1 April, your premises may be removed from the Register. The supply of any medicines will need to cease immediately.

Annual fees

Please see our fees page for information on how much you need to pay.

If your practice is part of the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS), your fee is included in your annual PSS registration fee.

Moving to a new veterinary premises

Registration cannot be transferred between premises. This means that if you’re moving your practice to a new premises, it must be registered separately. Please follow the registration process for new premises.

The new premises must be registered before any storage or supply of veterinary medicines takes place.
You’ll also need to close the premises you are moving from.

PSS practices

If you are in the PSS, your accreditation will not be transferred to the new premises. You’ll need to make a new application to join the Scheme.

If your practice premises is changing ownership

If the owner, practice name, staff, management or operational running of your practice premises is changing, you’ll need to re-register your premises. Please follow the registration process for new veterinary premises.

Closing a veterinary premises

To close a veterinary premises, please complete the Register of Veterinary Practice Premises Removal Form and send it to [email protected].

Contact our team

For any questions, please contact the Registration Team on 0207 202 0707 or at [email protected].

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