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Hundreds celebrate the introduction of the new Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Royal Charter

Veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, Members of Parliament and Peers of the House of Lords were among those who gathered in the Members' Dining Room of the House of Commons on Wednesday to celebrate the introduction of the new Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Royal Charter.

The special occasion, which was attended by over 200 guests, was sponsored by three MPs from across the three main national parties - Neil Parish (Conservative), Angela Smith (Labour) and David Heath (Liberal Democrats) - and celebrated the new Charter, the first in almost 50 years.

The Charter, which came into effect on 17 February, sets out the objects of the College and underpins many of its core functions such as the Practice Standards Scheme. However, the main focus of the event was the impact the Charter has had on veterinary nursing.

At the event Professor Stuart Reid, RCVS President, explained the historical significance of the Charter, in particular its role in formally underpinning the regulation of registered veterinary nurses and empowering VN Council to set standards for training and continued professional development.

He added: "However, there is one more piece of this jigsaw that is missing. We would like to increase further the confidence of the public in veterinary nurses with formal statutory protection of the title veterinary nurse. It is simply unacceptable that unqualified individuals should be able to use the same title as a well-qualified, properly regulated professional."

He explained that the College was currently considering a range of legislative options to achieve this aim.

Kathy Kissick, a registered veterinary nurse and Chair of VN Council, spoke next and commended the hard work it had taken to get a new Charter, adding: "I am so very proud to stand here as a registered veterinary nurse and an associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Registered veterinary nurses should wear their badges with pride."

Nick Stace, RCVS CEO, closed the event by outlining how the College was fulfilling its strategy to become a first-rate regulator citing the streamlining of the complaints process, the new alternative dispute resolution trial and the Mind Matters Initiative as just some of the ways in which the College is making a positive contribution to the welfare of animals, the public and the profession.

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