Together with a number of other leading veterinary organisations, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has recently written to UK veterinary practices to seek their ongoing help and support for veterinary students and student veterinary nurses (SVNs) in the face of the significant disruption to their education and training caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A joint letter was sent to veterinary practices from the Presidents/Chairs of the RCVS, Veterinary Schools Council, British Veterinary Association, Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons and Association of Veterinary Students concerning extra-mural studies placements for veterinary students; a separate joint letter to all veterinary nurse training practices from the RCVS and British Veterinary Nursing Association concerned training and employment placements for SVNs.

Both letters recognised the invaluable contribution of veterinary practices to the development and training of the UK’s veterinary and veterinary nurse students, especially how students rely on the support and guidance of practice teams as they work towards graduation and qualification.

The letters recognised that early government restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus were to keep people safe and protect the NHS, but that these had had significant negative impact on veterinary professionals and businesses, including major disruption to the education and training of veterinary and veterinary nurse students.

They further described how Universities and Colleges had been proactive and innovative in providing remote teaching while lockdown measures were in place, and that the RCVS had agreed to a number of temporary changes relating to both EMS for veterinary students and registration rules for final-year SVNs.

In particular, the letters stated that the RCVS was not placing restrictions either on EMS placements or on SVN training/employment placements.

While reiterating that student and staff safety remained paramount, the co-signatories hoped that as lockdown conditions continued to ease around most of the UK, practices would begin to consider whether they could start to offer face-to-face EMS placements for veterinary students, and training and employment placements for SVNs once again.

While recognising that this could present greater challenges in some practice environments than others, as Government guidelines needed to be followed, it was hoped that those practices who were able to offer such placements safely, would consider doing so as soon as possible, to once again provide the support that was so crucial to the development of the UK’s future veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

The original letters are available via: