In response to yesterday’s announcement that a General Election will take place on Thursday 4th July 2024, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) calls for reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, including the statutory protection of the ‘veterinary nurse’ title, to be included within in all political party manifestos.

BVNA President Lyndsay Hughes said: “Animal health and welfare is a significant concern to voters. Yet the veterinary profession providing care for our nation’s pets is currently significantly limited by legislation which is nearly 60 years old. The General Election presents a key opportunity for political parties to recognise voters’ concerns, by committing to the long-overdue reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act in their manifestos.

“Veterinary nurses play a pivotal role in upholding welfare standards for animals of all species. However, currently, anybody can call themselves a ‘veterinary nurse’, regardless of training. Our recent survey of the public found that most were unaware this title is currently unprotected, yet stressed the importance of having properly qualified and regulated individuals caring for their pets. Protecting our title in law would improve both transparency and trust amongst the public.

“The current Veterinary Surgeons Act also solely regulates individual veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. There is an urgent need to ensure more accountability for veterinary practices, which many voters will also be unaware are currently not regulated.

“In the interests of animal welfare and the public, we desperately require legislation which reflects the profession we are today. BVNA has represented veterinary nurses within the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Legislation Working Party (LWP), forming recommendations for future legislation. We will continue to ensure the veterinary nursing voice is heard in the calls for legislative change, and we look forward to engaging with political candidates throughout the campaign.”