What's the issue?
Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) are an essential part of the veterinary team and deserve full recognition for their roles.
Under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR), only vets, pharmacists, and SQPs can prescribe or supply certain categories of authorised veterinary medicines. However, there have been calls to change legislation in order to introduce a ‘nurse prescriber’ role within the small animal practice team. The stated aims of introducing such a role are to address workforce shortages by improving retention and increasing opportunities for veterinary surgeons to delegate tasks.
The issue is being discussed through the RCVS Legislation Working Party, on which BVA and BVNA are represented.
What's our view?
We support the principle of expansion of the RVN role. However, together with BVNA, we believe that any changes to legislation should be approached in a measured way, in line with the wants and needs of both professions, as well as clients, and with animal health and welfare at its heart.
Prescribing vaccinations should remain under the remit of the veterinary surgeon.
To enhance the role of RVNs:
- further work is required to clarify and communicate the duties that can be delegated to vet nurses under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act;
- the Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) role should be incorporated into RVN training, assessment, and competencies;
- consideration should be given to granting RVNs additional rights to dispense POM-V flea and wormer treatments; and
- consideration should be given to expanding the role of RVNs in the ongoing management of chronic cases.