Summer 2020 Newsletter
RCVS Legislation Working Party Report 4th June 2020
On June 4th 2020 the RCVS Council met and reviewed the report of the Legislation Working Party which includes among other things the potential regulation of veterinary paraprofessionals. The Council accepted the recommendations reached by the LWP and have agreed to go to consultation with the professions and public on the recommendations. The results, and any suggested amendments, will then be brought back to Council for final approval and adoption as RCVS recommendations. The final report then would be the basis of discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in the hope of securing future legislation. AHPR will represent our registrants in this consultation as it has in all talks that have contributed to the findings from this report.
One of the sections in the report “Embracing the Vet Led team” is highly relevant to AHPR registrants and specifically refers to musculoskeletal therapists. Below are some extracts from the report and the link to the full report if you wish to read it in full.
Embracing the vet-led team. The LWP defined the vet-led team as ‘appropriately-regulated professionals, including veterinary nurses, working under the direction of a veterinary surgeon, to protect animal health and welfare”.
Recommendation 1.1: Statutory regulation of the vet-led team (page 6). This should be full statutory regulation, and may include measures to allow ‘grandfathering’ to ensure that no-one is denied the right to a livelihood, much as existing practitioners were grandfathered by the early Veterinary Surgeons Acts.
Recommendation 1.4: Statutory protection for professional titles (page 7). The LWP reaffirms this recommendation, and recommends that protection of title be extended to any new paraprofessions who fall under the RCVS’s regulatory umbrella.
Also see annex A. Full report at: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/rcvs-legislation-working-party-report-to-council-2020/
The LWP concluded that new primary legislation would be necessary to introduce many of the reforms, and a new Veterinary Surgeons (or ‘veterinary services’) Act would be needed to introduce them in a cohesive and coherent way.
As previously informed due to Covid-19 the AGM will be virtual this year and run on Zoom on Thursday 9th July. As we recognise a lot of the formal CPD you undertake is clinical we decided on a business theme this year and have invited Dr Alison Pyatt from Hartpury University and Alison Lambert from Onswitch Ltd. to deliver talks relating to ideas to improve your business. The meeting will commence at 1.00 pm and finish at 5.30pm. We have a capacity of 100 attendees so it will be on a first come first served basis. Full details of the Meeting will be sent out shortly.
All Board and sub-committee members work on a voluntary basis alongside their very busy working lives, and with increasing membership we are seeking registrants who would be willing to volunteer some of their time to assist with the day-to-day running of register. We are particularly interested in recruiting a Treasurer to sit of the Board to assist in directing the budget of the Register (the book-keeping is already undertaken by the main office). If you would be willing to assist with the running of the Register please contact Carole Brizuela firstname.lastname@example.org
The design of our new website is underway. The updates will include a more sophisticated searchable register and a registrant’s only area. If there is anything extra you would like to see on the website, please let us know by contacting Katie Lawrence who is undertaking the revamp at email@example.com . We would also like to include pictures of our registrants throughout the site so we will be asking for some of those when we are ready.
The Board worked hard to keep registrants updated on how the pandemic was affecting your working lives and we were delighted at your demonstration of professionalism and public duty. We were in contact with the RCVS to request information and one of the Board members attended the virtual BVA weekly meetings to be assured we were offering the correct advice to our registrants. We also contacted DEFRA and Insurance companies to make them aware of the advice we were offering. Although it dealt a hard blow to businesses there were some positives that came out of the situation.
“Virtually overnight COVID-19 changed our way of working – we knew it was going to happen, but it was still quite a shock when we did enter lockdown. The negative side brought out the worries of how we would cope both mentally and financially – our businesses may fold and how would we pay our bills? For those whose businesses had not filed accounts for 2018-19 there was little financial support from the government, but for many there was some help in the form of the business grant, self-employed income support scheme, furlough payments and personal savings.
Once we became more settled into the new routine, we began to find some of the positives – sorting out the back log of paperwork, time to do some more learning via the online CPDs that were on offer. And one of the positives was that therapists began to have more verbal communication with their vets – to attend a case during lockdown we were required to get direct veterinary referral that stated the case was an emergency welfare issue. With everyone, including the vets, initially only doing emergency cases it gave us the chance to speak directly to our vets and discuss the cases.
Under normal busy circumstances speaking to our vets may prove difficult – leaving consent forms and reports usually passing between ourselves, the owner, or the practice receptionist. To have the time to speak with the vet and discuss the case allowed us to establish a better working relationship with the vets – something that will prove invaluable as we move towards the Vet Led Hub.”
Halina Tombs (Education sub-committee and Veterinary Physiotherapy committee).
AHPR have received requests for course accreditation from Moreton Morrel College (University of Warwick). The applications are currently under review.
Sue Connolly, AHPR registrant, is involved in a project studying the effect of kinesiology tape to treat angular limb deformities in foals alongside Dr Solange Mikail, a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation who is looking to recruit 30 foals aged over 4 weeks and less than 6 months. Sue Connolly is hoping to recruit 10 foals from the UK as part of the research. If you know of any foals with ALD that fulfil the age criteria please contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vet fact sheet
We are aware that providing information to the vets in your area about your qualifications and registration is important so we are currently developing a fact sheet for veterinary surgeons that you will be able to download from the website.
May 10th 2020 Advice to Registrants – Covid 19
Following the Prime Minister’s television broadcast this evening we wish to update AHPR guidance for working during the pandemic.
The Government stated they wish to actively encourage those workers who cannot work from home to return to work, with caveats:
- Preferably travel by car, (Government advice also mentions using bicycle or walking to avoid public transport)
- You must maintain social distancing.
- However this is only applicable for those working in England.
Our guidance is as follows:
You can now return to seeing all cases, including maintenance cases, with the usual veterinary referral or consent, providing you can maintain social distancing.
However COVID-19 is still circulating in the population so it is imperative that you carry out risk assessments before agreeing to see a case (NAVP have kindly shared their risk assessment templates which registrants can adapt for their own use) and you must carry out dynamic risk assessment whilst you are working. If you do not feel safe seeing a case you are not obliged to do so and AHPR will support your decision if you have carried out a risk assessment and deemed it unsafe (keep written copies).
Contact the client on the morning of the visit to make sure there have been no changes in health status of clients or those they are living with since you made your last risk assessment.
You should travel in your own transport; it is very important you keep your car clean and disinfected. Carry hand wash, gel, a bucket, towels with you. Use disinfectant wipes to clean car door handles and the steering wheel after each visit. If you use gloves, safely bag them at the end of treatment and dispose of all waste in a non-household bin.
Social distance – keep a minimum 2m between you and the client; but make sure you are safe, especially where dealing with large animals. Discuss your requirements with the client before the visit so they are aware of what you will be doing and the need to maintain social distancing. If you feel they will not observe your requirements don’t attend.
Observe biosecurity when arriving and leaving. Hand washing is still the most important preventative measure you can take. Clean any equipment after finishing. Try to not handle gates / door handles etc. Ask the client to open them for you if possible.
Consider wearing a face mask / face covering in an enclosed space. This is mainly to ensure you do not infect anyone else if you are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic with the disease.
If working in an enclosed space (client’s home, consult room, hydrotherapy centre, stable) ask for the windows to be opened to increase ventilation, especially in damp and humid conditions (viruses survive better in the air in these conditions).
In premises that are dedicated for seeing cases consider taking the animal from the client at the door and limiting client entry to the building.
Try and only see the same person on each visit to reduce the number of contacts you will have. If you are visiting a yard to see multiple animals try and only deal with one person.
The Prime Minister made it clear that this is the first step of returning to some sort of normality, but the lockdown could be reinstated if case numbers and transmission start to increase again, so please play your part by helping to keep the spread of the disease to a minimum. We must continue to ensure the NHS does not get overwhelmed.