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THE importance of the RCVS being even-handed in its approach to regulation was stressed by both its outgoing president and its chief executive in their addresses to the College's annual general meeting during RCVS Day on July 11.
Discussing some of the issues that had occupied him during his year as RCVS President, Neil Smith commented that two in particular had stood out ‘because of the passion they aroused in the profession’. These were the review of the 24-hour emergency care requirements, and the issue of which postnominal letters should be published in the RCVS Register.
‘In both these cases, online petitions played a role. It's a sign of the times that an online petition can so quickly rouse many supporters and allow them to put their comments to decision-making bodies,’ he said. However, while petitions and other social media tools were useful in giving an indication of how some people thought about an issue, by their nature they tended to ‘intimidate the less vocal’, who might hold a differing view but be reluctant to express it through fear of being publicly denigrated.
‘Sadly,’ said Colonel Smith, ‘some veterinary surgeons have made strident, public, and now permanent, statements which, in my and others’ views are frankly unprofessional.'
This, he added, was unnecessary. ‘Some of the best argued and considered communications I have had from veterinary surgeons this year have been those strongly disagreeing with something the College is doing, not doing or proposing to do! Theirs …
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