On Monday 3 October 2016, we began a nine-month Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) trial with VCMS in order to develop a system to address the many concerns we receive but cannot deal with under our statutory powers.
VCMS is administered by Nockolds, an independent firm of solicitors who also administer the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (a similar service aimed at resolving concerns raised by clients of optical services).
Why is the RCVS trialling ADR?
Although it is our legal responsibility to investigate all concerns raised with us, we are limited to dealing with only the most serious of concerns raised about a veterinary surgeon’s or registered veterinary nurse’s (RVN) fitness to practise.
Such cases make up only a small portion of the complaints we receive and most concerns are closed with no further action. This, however, leaves many people with no alternative form of redress.
Through this trial, and the previous trial administered by Ombudsman Services which concluded in July 2016, we hope to determine how we might set up a permanent scheme that would allow concerns that do not meet our criteria to be dealt with in a way that is satisfactory to both the complainant and the veterinary professional.
How will it work?
VCMS uses mediation to resolve disputes between veterinary professionals and their clients. Participation in the trial is voluntary, i.e. both parties must agree to take part, and is free to users.
Any concern which falls outside of the RCVS’ remit may be considered by VCMS. This means that VCMS may be able to help you if your concern is about:
- the service you have received from a veterinary practice
- the fees you have been charged
VCMS may also be able to help you if you are seeking:
a goodwill payment
If you have a concern, but are not sure whether it should be dealt with by VCMS or by us, please call us on 020 72020789 or fill in our short enquiry form and we will contact you.
*For the purposes of the trial, only concerns relating to horses, dogs, cats and other small mammals are eligible to be considered by VCMS.