So are you sufficiently responsible to prescribe wormers and flea treatments? Well. If you are a Registered Veterinary Nurse, I think you are!

At present a RVN can only independently prescribe or supply certain wormers or flea treatments if he or she registers with the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) to become a SQP (suitably qualified person). Yet we can buy these same products from our local pet store from an SQP who probably knows much less about animals generally than you do!

My view is that RVNs should be recognised as Responsible Qualified Persons (RQPs) allowing them to prescribe NFA VPS or POM VPS medicines. Rather than sending RVNs off to AMTRA, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) should regulate the conduct of RVNs who wish to prescribe.This would:

  enable you to do more for the practice that employs you

   open up new career opportunities for RVNs

  make RVNs a higher priority for the veterinary pharmaceutical industry encouraging them to spend more on continuing professional development of the veterinary nursing profession, thereby contributing to its development

   be a small, but important, step forward for the RVN profession whilst other efforts – for example, to secure the title veterinary nurse – could continue

   stop practices having to write unnecessary SOPs – the only way in which a practice can presently allow a RVN to supply

   stop RVNs who need to supply independently from coming under pressure to undertake CPD that is irrelevant to their needs.

The legislation that AMTRA relies on is not the Veterinary Surgeons Act but the Animal Medicines Regulations, 2005.These regulations are reviewed and changed annually so changing them is much easier than, for example, protecting the title Veterinary Nurse or putting through an entirely separate ‘Veterinary Nurses Act’… and it could happen much sooner.

Although AMTRA is presently the only body that has applied to regulate the conduct of SQPs, any organisation can apply to regulate the conduct of registered qualified persons; so, for example, the RCVS in the form of the VN Council could apply to regulate the conduct of RVNs as RQPs by asking the VMD to define RVNs in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations as RQPs. The College already has a list or register of nurses, the infrastructure, the money and a disciplinary process. Efforts to protect the title veterinary nurse could still continue.

So whilst having the right to prescribe does not mean that you are obliged to do so, this would open up new possibilities and recognise the efforts that RVNs have put in to achieve the qualification.

If you would like to discuss the proposal you are welcome to do so on the Veterinary Nurse forum at (registration is free) or contact BVNA Council.

Act now for the benefit of your entire profession. 


Jeremy Johnson BVSc, MRCVS

To cite this and other BVNA content use either DOI: 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2011.00128.x or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 26 pp 426


• VOL 26 • December 2011   Veterinary Nursing Journal