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RCVS should not be the 'judge and jury' when regulating says union

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons should not be the 'judge and jury' when it comes regulating the UK's 27,000 vets, Unite, the country's largest union, has warned.

Unite has now written to the government asking for the Professional Standards Authority, which regulates such governing bodies as the General Medical Council, General Dental Council, and Nursing and Midwifery Council, to have 'scrutiny' of the RCVS.

Unite, which embraces the British Veterinary Union, said the RCVS disciplinary process and decisions have long been a matter of discontent for the members of the RCVS.

In a letter to junior minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, the BVU chair Dr Shams Mir cited the case of Munhuwepasi Chikosi struck off the register of veterinary surgeons by the RCVS in June 2013.

Dr Mir said that this case was "widely seen by the veterinary profession as blatant miscarriage of justice and many expressions of 'outrage' were published in the veterinary press and online.

"One popular online veterinary forum recorded over a thousand posts criticising and challenging various aspects of the decision."

The current statutory duties of the RCVS, established by Royal Charter in 1844, are determined by the Veterinary Surgeons Act of 1966, which Unite says is now 'outdated.

Dr Mir said: "BVU petitions the government to extend the remit of the PSA to incorporate the RCVS to ensure appropriate overview and scrutiny.

"The RCVS proposed new Royal Charter could be exploited by the RCVS to give itself proxy powers to introduce incontestable new regulatory measures."

Unite has asked for an urgent meeting with George Eustice.

Unite professional officer Jane Beach, said: "Our initiative is designed to safeguard the interests of both the public, and practicing vets and veterinary nurses in the UK.

"Basically, the way that the RCVS is presently constituted means that it is both judge and jury in disciplinary matters. It sets the rules and hands down the judgements - and we believe that an extra layer of scrutiny needs to be introduced which we would like to be the PSA."

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