Veterinary Surgeons Act

BVA believes that there is no need for a new Veterinary Surgeons Act (VSA).


The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 regulates the veterinary profession and there has been some debate as to whether or not it should be revised.

BVA position

BVA's position has always been and continues to be that there is no need for a new VSA. We believe that the provisions set out in the VSA 1966 provide an adequate means of regulating the veterinary profession for the purposes of protecting animal health and welfare and safeguarding public health. There is a high level of public confidence in the veterinary profession and on this basis it can be argued that substantial changes to the Act are neither justified or necessary. However, we do agree that in general there is some need for modernisation in some areas, in particular the regulation of groups and individuals who carry out acts of veterinary surgery in contravention of the Act.

BVA also believes that there should be:

  • reform of the disciplinary procedures, including greater lay representation would be desirable¬†
  • a Guide to Practice Standards similar to the Guide to Professional Conduct
  • mandatory CPD but no compulsory re-validation

BVA actions

  • BVA has produced a briefing document for members detailing the full timeline of discussions and changes from 2003 to present
  • BVA has responded to the RCVS 2009 Review of the Veterinary Surgeons Act
  • BVA is a member of Defra's Review of Minor Procedures Regime Project Board - looking at minor acts of veterinary surgery and¬†what a new regime for regulating minor procedures would look like
  • BVA's divisions, the British Cattle Veterinary Association and British Equine Veterinary Association are involved in workstreams for the Minor Procedures Regime Project Board.

Legislative Reform Order

A Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to amend the provisions of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 relating to the constitution of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) disciplinary committees (Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC) and Disciplinary Committee (DC)) came into force in April 2013.

The amendment to the Veterinary Surgeons Act separated the overlap of functions between those who set the standards (RCVS Council) and those who investigate (PIC) and adjudicate (DC) possible breaches of those standards - statutory committees currently constituted from Council members.