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• UK-practising vets are to be allowed to spread the cost of their annual renewal fees over the calendar year. The RCVS council has agreed that fees can be paid in three instalments – 50 per cent by 30 April, 25 per cent by 30 September and 25 per cent by 31 December. Kit Sturgess, RCVS treasurer, said: ‘We recognise that most veterinary businesses will be seeing a downtown during the coronavirus lockdown, especially as veterinary practices reduce their workloads to emergency-only procedures or those that can be classed as urgent. Furthermore, we understand that many individual veterinary surgeons will no longer be working, and that this will cause financial difficulties for many vets and their families.’ The RCVS would review the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on an ongoing basis, he said. Details of the new payment arrangements will be sent out shortly.

• The British Small Animal Veterinary Association has released a free triage tool to help vets in practice identify and process emergency canine and feline cases during the coronavirus crisis. The tool has been developed by more than 10 specialists and is intended to enable vets, nurses and receptionists to determine which cases are urgent, potentially urgent, non-urgent and delayable. It can be downloaded from www.bsava.com/TriageTool

• RCVS Knowledge has collated a Covid-19 resources hub offering vet professionals access to vital information and advice about the pandemic. The hub, at https://knowledge.rcvs.org.uk/covid-19/, includes a webinar on infection control and biosecurity during the pandemic, which covers the science of coronavirus, evidence related to the virus and practical advice for practices on helping to stem its spread.

• The Major Employers Group – CVS, Goddard Veterinary Group, IVC Evidensia, Linnaeus, Medivet, Vets Now, VetPartners and Vets4Pets – has joined forces with the RSPCA, PDSA and Blue Cross to support each other and independent practices in providing emergency vet care where there are practice closures. The hope is that this will avoid major disruption to essential vet services if practices have to close branches in high-risk areas, or if there is a lack of staff due to sickness, self isolation or social distancing requirements.

• A group called UK Vets Covid Crisis Connection has been set up by members of the profession to help vet team members who find themselves in need of emergency accommodation at this time – for example, due to accommodation linked to a job that has been cancelled falling through. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/516622409253098/

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