The RCVS and the BVA have coordinated efforts to advise the veterinary professions on how they can continue to undertake veterinary work after the initial three-week lockdown period comes up for review next week. They have issued the following joint statement:
News reports suggest that restrictions will continue across the UK, and the Welsh Government has already announced this in Wales. The detail is expected to be announced the week commencing 13 April. Existing guidance from the RCVS and BVA was put in place for the three-week period from 23 March to 13 April in order to support veterinary professionals to undertake work to maintain the food supply chain and carry out emergency and urgent veterinary work.
We know that this caused a huge amount of disruption and uncertainty throughout the veterinary sector and we are grateful to everyone in the veterinary team for making these dramatic changes to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
We anticipate that some form of restrictions will be ongoing, but we are mindful of the ongoing need to prioritise public health and address animal health and welfare issues that may arise over this prolonged period, and the need to ensure the longer-term viability of the veterinary sector to continue to provide care for animals. This does not, however, mean that we are returning to business as usual.
We have coordinated our efforts to develop updated guidance for the professions to ensure we all continue to do everything we can to minimise non-essential journeys and human contact. Our aim is for veterinary professionals to be able to carry out essential work for public health or animal health and welfare over a rolling two-month time period. This should provide practices with a workable timeframe to be able to plan and to prioritise cases.
The guidance we have produced is intended to support veterinary professionals in their decision making and is not intended to remove or replace individual clinical and professional judgement. However, any work that is undertaken over the coming weeks must be in the context of minimising contact and reducing the spread of Covid-19.
The advice and guidance is effective from 14 April 2020 and will be kept under review and will be updated in light of relevant government policy changes.