RCVS launches consultation on Schedule 3 and future of veterinary nursing

8 May 2017

This is part of a broader review of Schedule 3 that came out of VN Futures, a joint project between the College and the British Veterinary Nursing Association that was launched in 2016 to create a blueprint for the future of the veterinary nursing profession.

One of the ambitions that came out of the VN Futures project was to create a ‘clarified and bolstered VN role via a reformed Schedule 3’, with recommendations to form a Working Party to consider possible reforms to Schedule 3 and related guidance.

Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act provides that veterinary surgeons may direct registered or student veterinary nurses who they employ to carry out limited veterinary surgery. Further details can be found at www.rcvs.org.uk/delegation

The consultation is being run by the Institute for Employment Studies, an independent not-for-profit centre of research and consultancy in public employment policy and HR management. All eligible veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons have been emailed with a link to survey.

Liz Cox, Chair of both the Schedule 3 Working Party and VN Council, said: “The future of veterinary nursing is both challenging and exciting, with the convergence of such factors as Brexit, the development of new technologies, and the increasing specialisation of veterinary surgeons, and we would very much like to know how you think the role of veterinary nurse will evolve.

“In light of this we very much encourage all veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons to complete this consultation. Evidence gathered during the initial stage of the VN Futures project suggested that there is some uncertainty around the interpretation of Schedule 3 in clinical practice. For example, many veterinary nurses do not undertake Schedule 3 work or are uncertain as to whether they do, while some veterinary surgeons are reluctant to delegate Schedule 3 tasks to veterinary nurses.

“With this survey we hope to get a better steer on how Schedule 3 is used and interpreted in practice on a day-to-day basis and gather views on where both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses feel the current legislation could be clarified. Furthermore, we also want to know if there are areas of practice that are currently prohibited to nurses under current Schedule 3 arrangements that the professions believe could be opened up to veterinary nurses as a means of bolstering the profession.”

Liz Cox and David Catlow MRCVS, Chair of the Standards Committee, will also be presenting a webinar on Thursday 11 May from 1pm to 2pm titled ‘The Art of Delegation – Schedule 3 Consultation’. It will focus on Schedule 3 and the role of the veterinary nurse, and explore possible areas to consider when responding to the consultation. To subscribe to the webinar, please visit The Webinar Vet’s website: www.thewebinarvet.com/webinar/art-delegation-schedule-3-consultation/