RCVS has now published new guidance on the provision of 24/7 emergency care, which provides greater definition of the professional and legal responsibilities of veterinary surgeons in the provision of emergency care as well as owners’ responsibilities for their animals.

Although veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses are professionally obliged to take steps to provide 24-hour emergency first aid and pain relief, the new supporting guidance clarifies situations where delaying or declining attendance to an animal may be appropriate.

It is hoped that this will assist and empower vets and VNs to decline to attend an animal away from practice where they feel it is unnecessary or unsafe.

You can read the detailed guidance at www.rcvs.org.uk/247care

RCVS Knowledge elects new Chair

RCVS Knowledge welcomed director of Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital and former RCVS President Jacqui Molyneux as its newly appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees, following its Annual General Meeting at Belgravia House in London on 6 June 2014.

Jill Nute stands down as Chair for RCVS Knowledge after four years in post. Mrs Nute thanked the staff at RCVS Knowledge, saying that they had been a ‘great team to work with’.

Jacqui Molyneux has served on the RCVS Knowledge Board of Trustees for three years and has been a strong advocate of the Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine (EBVM) focus. She says that her key goal as Chair for the next three years will be to get practitioners engaged in EBVM.

 Jacquie Molyneux, new Chair of the Board of Trustees at RCVS Knowledge

Know your Code: delegation to veterinary nurses

As most veterinary nurses know, under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, veterinary surgeons may direct registered, listed or student veterinary nurses who they employ to carry out limited veterinary surgery – defined as medical treatment or minor surgery, not involving entry into a body cavity.

In practice, however, what does this mean? It’s a question that we are often asked and we are often expected to come up with a definitive list of what veterinary nurses can and can’t do under Schedule 3.

However, it is not possible for us to list all of the procedures under Schedule 3 of the Act, nor would we want to. This is not only because it would be impossible to say with any certainty that a given procedure would be safe to delegate to a specific individual, but also because the delegation of procedures involves consideration of a number of other circumstances, not just the procedure itself.

First and foremost for consideration is the individual veterinary nurse’s level of competence and whether they are qualified to be directed to carry out the procedure. For example, Chapter 18 of the supporting guidance to our Code of Professional Conduct clearly states:

18.7 In considering whether to direct a registered or listed veterinary nurse or student veterinary nurse to carry out ‘Schedule 3 procedures’, a veterinary surgeon must consider how difficult the procedure is in the light of any associated risks, whether the nurse is qualified to treat the species concerned, understands the associated risks and has the necessary experience and good sense to react appropriately if any problem should arise. The veterinary surgeon must also be sure that he/she will be available to answer any call for assistance, and finally, should be satisfied that the nurse feels capable of carrying out the procedure competently and successfully.

Further information about delegation to registered, listed and student veterinary nurses can be found in the supporting guidance to our Code of Professional Conduct at www.rcvs.org.uk/delegation

• VOL 29 • September 2014 • Veterinary Nursing Journal