Following the General Election on 4th July 2024 and the Labour Party now starting to form the new UK Government, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) will continue to call for reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, including the statutory protection of the ‘veterinary nurse’ title.

BVNA is encouraged that the Labour Party has committed to achieving ‘stronger animal welfare’, referring to a number of key current animal welfare issues within its manifesto such as puppy smuggling and farming. However, the new UK Government will be better placed to achieve these positive outcomes for animal welfare, in collaboration with a veterinary profession working under modern and fit-for-purpose legislation. Consequently, BVNA urges the new Government to overhaul the outdated Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, which must also properly reflect the veterinary nursing profession of today.

BVNA President Lyndsay Hughes said: “BVNA looks forward to working alongside the new UK Government in order to continue to push for legislative reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Whilst there is much to do for any new Government, and many important issues to address, we know that animal health and welfare is a key concern to the electorate.

“Yet, the veterinary profession providing care for our nation’s animals is currently significantly limited by legislation which is nearly 60 years old. This unfit-for-purpose legislation must be urgently reviewed to fully enable the veterinary profession to support the Labour Party’s aims to secure better welfare standards for animals.

“Veterinary nurses have an important role in safeguarding animal welfare; upholding welfare standards for animals of all species. However, currently, anybody can call themselves a ‘veterinary nurse’, regardless of training. Protecting our title in law would positively impact both animal and human health and welfare; improving transparency and trust between the public and those caring for their animals.

“We desperately require and urgently call for legislation which reflects the profession we are today. BVNA will continue to ensure the veterinary nursing voice is heard in the calls for legislative change. We look forward to engaging with the new UK Government – to support its ambitions for improvements to animal welfare, and to highlight how veterinary nurses will be instrumental to achieving these aims.”