1 April 2011
We have introduced a disciplinary system that will enable animal owners and other members of the public to make formal complaints about registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) from today.
Veterinary nurses offer supportive nursing care for animals within veterinary practices. Once qualified, they can join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses and veterinary surgeons are legally permitted to delegate minor surgery and medical treatments to them.
The new complaints and disciplinary system should give animal owners greater confidence in the professionalism of registered veterinary nurses and their fitness to practise, together with a course of action to take if they feel a veterinary nurse falls below accepted standards of professional conduct.
“This is the latest milestone in improving the regulation of veterinary nurses, which has now been brought further into line with that of veterinary surgeons,” says Liz Branscombe, Chairman of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council.
“Registered veterinary nurses already work to a Guide to Professional Conduct and commit to keeping their skills and knowledge up to date, so this is a further step in recognising their own professional responsibility.”
As is the case with veterinary surgeons, we will only investigate complaints that question an RVN’s fitness to practise, for example professional misconduct or criminal convictions.
Registered veterinary nurses already work to a Guide to Professional Conduct and commit to keeping their skills and knowledge up to date
If the allegations are serious enough, the complaint can be taken to a disciplinary hearing. Less serious allegations will be closed without a hearing.
Disciplinary inquiries into RVNs will follow the format of a tribunal and be held in public. Lawyers will usually act for both sides, and the Veterinary Nurses Disciplinary Committee, which will comprise RVNs, veterinary surgeons and lay people, will sit in judgment.
The outcome of disciplinary hearings will be published on the RCVS website.
If allegations against the veterinary nurse are found proved, they may be removed from the Register of Veterinary Nurses.
Complaints about less serious matters will be closed at an earlier stage, without a Disciplinary Committee hearing. If necessary, advice about professional conduct will be given to the RVN.
Genuine mistakes made by an RVN, even if the outcome is serious, will not usually reach a hearing, although repeated or reckless mistakes may be investigated.
View I want to make a complaint for more information.