3 November 2021
RCVS news: Standards Committee agrees to end remote prescribing dispensation in November 2021
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Standards Committee has decided to end the temporary dispensation that allows veterinary surgeons to, under strict conditions and safeguards, prescribe prescription-only veterinary medicines remotely.
The dispensation was brought in during the spring 2020 lockdown to safeguard animal health and welfare, the health & safety of the veterinary team, and public health, by allowing prescriptions to be made by veterinary surgeons without having first physically examined the animal, subject to conditions and safeguards.
Since it was brought in, the temporary dispensation has been under constant review and, in September, was extended to midnight on Sunday 31 October 2021. On Tuesday 26 October the Standards Committee met and decided to end the dispensation, although it has put back the end date for the guidance to midnight on Sunday 21 November to allow sufficient time for veterinary practices to change their protocols and policies accordingly.
Melissa Donald, RCVS Junior Vice-President and Chair of the Standards Committee, said: “Due to a number of factors, including evidence that there has been a decline in the amount of remote prescriptions taking place, the Committee took the decision to end the dispensation, albeit with a three-week extension period to allow those practices that are still prescribing remotely to change their policies, inform their clients and so on.
“While the dispensation is ending, it is worth noting that it will still be kept under review in light of any changes in the circumstances around the pandemic, including government advice and regulations.”
Alex Taylor, BVNA President, said: “Remote prescribing of medicines for animals was necessary during the pandemic, as it meant animal owners could ensure their animals were prescribed the medication they needed to stay well.
“Remote prescribing also helped to prevent the spread of coronavirus by reducing client footfall in the veterinary clinic, so this reduced the risk to public health too. However, as we recover from the pandemic it’s important to recognise that in-person health assessments of animals made by the veterinary surgeon are most accurate for picking up health issues and are therefore best for animal health and welfare.”
The full details about the temporary dispensation can be found at: www.rcvs.org.uk/coronavirus. Those with any questions about the guidance should contact the RCVS Standards & Advice Team on email@example.com or 020 7202 0789.