College Council approves new draft Charter - Veterinary Practice
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College Council approves new draft Charter

Veterinary Practice reports on some of the decisions and discussions at the latest meeting of the RCVS Council

THE Royal College Council
approved, with some reservations, a
draft of a new Charter, at its meeting
on 6th March.

The Council will be asked to
approve a final draft at its
June meeting and a
resolution will be put before the AGM on 11th

If given the go-ahead
there it will go to the Privy Council and
if it gains that body’s blessing then the
new Charter would be “sealed and
operative” in March 2015 – provided
that the College’s patron, the Queen,
agrees with paragraph 32 that “Our
Royal will and pleasure is that this
Supplemental Charter shall ever be
construed benevolently and in every case
most favourably to the College and the
promotion of the objects.”

Basically the new Charter puts the
veterinary nursing profession on a more
secure legal footing. It requires the
RCVS to form a VN Council (which it
already does voluntarily); it enables the
Schedule 3 list mentioned to effectively
become a “register”; it empowers the
Council to establish a disciplinary
process for VNs (again something
already done for the voluntary register).

The new Charter also sets out what
the College is for – something which is surprisingly omitted from the 1967
Charter of Queen Elizabeth – the
College relying on the recital to the initial
Charter granted by Queen Victoria in
1844 (long revoked).

The new charter declares that the RCVS “shall set,
uphold and advance veterinary
standards, and should promote,
encourage and advance the study and
practice of the art and science of
veterinary surgery and medicine, in the
interests of the health and welfare [sic]
of animals and in the wider public

The Charter will also enable the
RCVs to create other classes of
“associate members” (other than VNs)
in the future but only after approval by
both a general meeting and the Privy
Council. It is not envisaged that any new
associate groups will be created at
present although some organisations
such as the meat hygiene inspectors are
clearly interested.

The new Charter also tidies up some
administrative discrepancies between the
VSA and the old Charter. New bye-laws
increase the number of members
needed to requisition a general meeting
from 50 to 200 in line with the increased
membership of the RCVS since the
1967 Charter (in fact no general meeting
other than the AGM has ever been

Registration regulations

The Registrar presented a paper dealing
with amendments to the registration
regulations with many of the more
controversial changes made in 2010 to
be reversed. Registrants can now either
use their practice or their home address.

There will be a lower penalty for
those individuals who forget to pay.
After some debate the late payment fee was set at one annual retention fee (with
some discretion to the Registrar in cases
of genuine need).

As the RCVS is encouraging online
registration it was decided that the
regulation requiring annual confirmation
of address should be retained as it
means that most people need only tick a

Top 10 list gone for good

The requirement that practices should
display in their waiting rooms the prices
for the “top ten” medicines they supply
– a requirement imposed by the Office
of Fair Trading following the
Competition Commission inquiry into
the sale of veterinary medicines in 2002
– has now been dropped permanently.

It was suspended last March on the
understanding that the change would be
made permanent if there was no
appreciable level of complaint from the
public to either the OFT or RCVS
during the following six months.

Practices still need to display notices
informing clients that they have a right
to a prescription.

Call for compassion

Peter Jinman, a former president, said
he was aware of two recent instances of
students leaving veterinary school
selection interviews in tears. Pointing
out that the young people involved were
likely to be the children of clients of
practices, he urged selection panels to be
more compassionate in their processes.

Preliminary investigations

There are currently 39 cases being
investigated by the College’s preliminary
investigation committee; 12 veterinary
surgeons are in the health protocol and
two in the performance protocol. Since
the last meeting of the Council in
November, no cases had been referred
to the disciplinary committee and there
were no cases listed or waiting to be
listed for disciplinary hearings.

Case examiners had dealt with 105 complaints in the period since
November, 18 of which had been
referred to the full PIC. The case
examiners currently have 35 new cases
awaiting decision.

The College is currently assisting the
police in one case of practising by a
non-veterinary surgeon and one case of
an unregistered veterinary surgeon

Resolution of disputes

The Council heard that in 2015 all EU
states will be required to have in place
alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for
all “trades” and that this will probably
include veterinary practice [although
human medicine is specifically excluded
(Directive 2013/11/EU)].

The Council received two
presentations on varying ways this might
be done. One was an “in house”model
based on that used by the GDC, and the
other was based on the Ombudsman

ADR would not be applicable to
misconduct issues, that being solely a
role for the PIC and DC, nor would
“negligence”, be covered – that being for
the civil courts. So the new service would deal solely with “service” issues
not amounting to serious professional
misconduct. Both systems rely on some
form of independent arbitration.

The Council believed it was worth
investigating both schemes further.
Funding would be an issue although a
pilot could legitimately be funded from
the retention fee.

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