Voting for the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council elections 2012 opened in mid-March. Three candidates are competing for two places on Council. They are:

Mrs Elizabeth Figg REVN 

Mrs Katherine Kissick RVN 

Mr Philippe Ramboaniaina RVN.

Two of these candidates will join the six other elected veterinary nurses, six veterinary surgeons and two lay people who sit on VN Council, together with a representative from Lantra.

Details of all three candidates can be found in the RCVS News Extra that all those eligible to vote would have received in March. Please do read the manifestos and candidate statements carefully – and drop the candidates an e-mail if you have questions for them.

The pack also included information about how to vote, and ballot papers. There are three options when it comes to voting – by post (using the freepost envelope provided in your mailing), by text or online – so there is no excuse not to!

Information is also available on but "you will need your ballot papers to vote.

“The turn-out for the VN Council elections was only 7.6 per cent last year,” says VN Council chairman, Liz Branscombe. “This was disappointing. Not only down from 11.2 per cent in the previous election, but also much lower than the figure for the equivalent veterinary elections. I know that many of you are passionate about the future of our profession, so please don’t waste your opportunity to decide who shapes our future.”

Votes must be cast by 5pm on Friday 27th April 2012.

If you did not receive your election pack, please contact Annette Amato at or call 0207 202 0713, for a replacement. 

Student locums – a warning

We have recently heard reports of student VNs acting as locums, and it has raised some concerns. It’s worth remembering that, legally speaking, student veterinary nurses can only carry out Schedule 3 tasks – even under close personal supervision – when working in their own Training Practice, or in a placement under the supervision of their centre (college or university), in the course of their veterinary nursing qualification.

This is because the dispensation under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 is meant to assist students in the course of their structured studies. It would otherwise be akin to a veterinary student working as a locum vet in the holidays, on the basis that he or she is allowed to carry out veterinary tasks under supervision while on extra-mural studies – which would clearly be wrong.

So, if your practice hires a locum who is a student nurse, he or she can only carry out the same tasks as a lay member of staff, no matter how experienced they are. This is true even if your practice is a Training Practice in its own right, training other veterinary nurse students.

We also hear reports of individuals who never completed their studies and who are, therefore, neither a student nor a qualified veterinary nurse, acting as a locum in a ‘qualified’ capacity, which is equally illegal.

Please be aware of this, and if the locum agency you use suggests a student veterinary nurse when you have asked for a qualified nurse, do point out to them that this is not a suitable substitute.

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 27 • April 2012 •