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Veterinary nursing
Peer bids for protection of title ‘veterinary nurse’

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A PRIVATE Member's Bill that would legally protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’ has been submitted by veterinary peer Professor the Lord Trees.

Lord Trees submitted the Veterinary Nurses (Protection of Title) Bill to the ballot for Private Members' Bills in the House of Lords on May 19. If it comes sufficiently highly in a ballot, the Bill will be debated in the House of Lords and the House of Commons and, if approved by both, would become law.

As drafted, the Bill would prohibit the use of the title ‘veterinary nurse’ by anyone whose name was not on the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. Any non-registered person who used the title, or a name, title or description that implied they were on the Register, would be guilty of an offence and could be fined or convicted under the Veterinary Surgeons Act.

Lord Trees commented: ‘It is very exciting, and a privilege, to be entering a Private Member's Bill to protect the title veterinary nurse into the ballot for Private Members’ Bills in Parliament. If we are drawn high enough in the ballot and if we can get parliamentary time – two important “ifs” – I am confident that the Bill will receive total cross-party support.

Lord Trees outside the Houses of Parliament, with a copy of the Private Members' Bill that would protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’

Details of the RCVS's campaign to protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’, which includes an animated video, can be found at www.rcvs.org.uk/vntitle

‘It would mark the final brick in the wall of creating a fully fledged, recognised and protected veterinary nursing profession. This is what the veterinary nursing profession merits and the public deserve.’

BVA support

The BVA welcomed submission of the Bill to the ballot, describing it as ‘a fantastic step in recognising the unique contribution of veterinary nurses’.

John Blackwell, the BVA President, said the BVA had long supported the full recognition of the role of veterinary nurses as an essential part of the veterinary team. ‘Lord Trees’ submission of a Private Member's Bill to the House of Lords which would legally protect the title “veterinary nurse” will undoubtedly help place the issue on the new Government's agenda and BVA will do everything it can to promote and support the Bill,' he said. ‘We fully support the RCVS on this Bill and commend the work of Lord Trees as we are hearing loud and clear from our members that this is an issue they are passionate about, and they want to see this title protected.

‘Not only will this recognise the skills of qualified veterinary nurses and the unique contribution they make to the veterinary team, it will give clients confidence in the professional roles of all team members caring for their animals.

‘We'll be doing our best to ensure the Bill progresses through the various stages required – including being drawn sufficiently high in the ballot and debated in the Lords and Commons – before it is enshrined into law.’

The House of Lords ballot will be drawn before Parliament's summer recess. In the meantime, the RCVS is encouraging registered veterinary nurses to back its campaign to protect the title and raise awareness of the issue with their clients.

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