Jo Paul attended a RCVS reception at the House of Lords last week. The afternoon was to launch the RCVS campaign to gain parliamentary time to update the Veterinary Surgeon Act. A part of that change would be the ability for the RCVS to regulate other professions. The afternoon was an opportunity to network with professionals who work in the veterinary industry alongside MPs and Peers. Throughout the afternoon we heard some short speeches from various professionals:

Pressor the Lord Trees: who sponsored the event. In his working life he was a research-based vet who is the only veterinary professional within the House of Lords. Lord Trees introduced the need for new legislation but concluded that animals deserved better care than human patients and he
believes this must be provided by vet led team. He continued as animals could not consent to treatment, could not give a history and could not refuse treatment, that care must be given by a veterinary surgeon or referred by a vet.

Dr Melissa Donald, RCVS President: Welcomed everyone and explained the need for legislative change as the current legislation was no longer fit for purpose to allow everyone to work together but didn’t say how this might happen. She was a very popular lady, but Jo did manage to speak to her briefly about RAMP and will follow up with her to give more information about the register Matthew Rendle,RCVS Veterinary Nursing Chair: talked about the important role of the vet Nurse in the MDT and the need for VNs to be able to develop their practice. The new act would support VNs in a community nurse capacity as well as working within a practice premises. Jo met Huw Jones who is CEO of BVNA which is a continuation of contact over the summer with a view to communication with them on how they feel about regulation within the RCVS and the importance of advice to VNs who wish to change careers to vet physiotherapy. RAMP do not want to be exclusive but there must be an understanding that appropriate additional training must take place to achieve RAMP registration. It is felt that communication with VN students would alert them early on in their career that progression to Veterinary Physiotherapy is not a case of a few weeks CPD but a full training for a new and different skillset. Work is ongoing.

Dr Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association: Justine is vice president of the BVA, she talked about the organisation being the largest professional association for vets, and the need for a change in legislation to allow a more modern way of working. Jo met Justine and will follow up after within the next few days with an email explaining RAMP work which will follow up communication Jo started when attending BVA congress in June. RAMP believe we need to be proactive in working with the Veterinary associations BVA, BEVA and the BSAVA to make them aware of the regulatory package we are proposing, collect any feedback and learn from how the “on the ground” vets would feel comfortable working with MSK allied professionals.

Jake Paterson, Equine Dental Technician: Jake talked about the role of the equine dental technicians and the high skill levels they achieve in training. I also spoke again with BAEDT chair James Arkley and we believe that we have similar challenges and will continue to work together to support efforts for regulation of our respective industries.

Emily Hallett, Farm Veterinary Technician: talked about the work of Vet techs and how important they are in communication with farmers and monitoring animal health and management programs. She explained they often have more time with the farmer than the vets have and so can have a more productive relationship. It struck me that could also be said for our relationship with clients.

Emma Fretwell, Musculoskeletal Therapist: Emma is a highly eminent Chiropractor with vast regulatory and clinical experience. She is a co-opted member of RAMP Council, and she gave an excellent account of her role in small animal rehabilitation and how the MDT should work with each member contributing their specific skillset to the best of their ability to enable best care. Lorna Bannister, RCVS Knowledge Archivist

Also attending were representatives from IAAT, ACPAT, AHPR, BRC, McTimoney and BVCA so it was nice to have representation from several of the MSK professional associations.

As a lead up to the reception the RCVS made some promotional videos which you can view below.

Initially the RCVS asked RAMP to take part in the videos but as we were not allowed any editorial rights, we asked Kim Sheader if she could take part as a physiotherapy representative. Emma Fretwell also took part. We thank both practitioners for representing the MSK industry but please note their contribution was highly edited by the RCVS production team to match the theme of the vet led team.

RAMP have been active in reporting to the RCVS that the term paraprofessional infers someone who works alongside professionals and is not appropriate. Also, it would be appreciated if the term allied professionals is used to describe members of the MDT who are not vets. This is a work in progress and the term paraprofessional is still used in part of the videos, RAMP would encourage you to use this description on any communication.

In summary there was a consensus that new regulation is required but as yet there are no details on how it may look for MSK professionals. RAMP is working hard to maintain the educational and professional standards in place but will have to negitoate hard with the support of the registrants to gain autonomy and we will have to be strong if we are not to sacrifice standards for the lure of protection of title.