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Emerging ideas on changes to ‘under our care’

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By Matthew Limb

Vets are being invited to consider a new notion of what ‘under our care’ means for the profession which could be an enabler for safe delivery of remote services and technologies.

Current professional regulations are widely seen as failing to keep pace with changes such as the use of telemedicine and remote consultations that have accelerated under the Covid-19 crisis.

Experts on a BVA working group are now warming to the UK incorporating a more flexible foundational concept that recognises the different ways vets operate and is ‘fit for purpose’ in the longer term.

The approach goes beyond stipulations around vets’ prescribing to stress wider responsibilities under a vet-client-patient relationship (VCPR) – a model promoted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (see box).

What would the new model demand from vets?

To establish a vet-client-patient relationship, the vet must:

1. Assume responsibility for making clinical judgements regarding the health of the patient and the client has agreed to follow the vet’s instructions.

2. Have sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. This means that the vet is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the vet, or medically appropriate and timely visits by the …

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