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RCVS team moves to home working for foreseeable future

All teams will continue to operate as close to normality as possible, with key support services for veterinary surgeons and nurses

20 March 2020, at 1:00pm

In line with recent advice from the UK government on social distancing to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, RCVS staff will all move to remote working from Thursday, 19 March 2020, with the offices at Belgravia House closing for the foreseeable future.

All teams will nevertheless continue to operate as close to normality as possible, with key support services for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses such as advice, lifelong learning (including qualifications and the new 1CPD platform), finance and Practice Standards available as usual over the phone, on email or via the website.

The College’s key statutory activities around accreditation, registration and regulation of the professions will also be largely unaffected, with most Committee, Sub-Committee and working group meetings held by telephone or video conference.

The April meeting of RCVS Council has been cancelled, however, as this meeting is too big to be held remotely. The key items for discussion around standard of proof and the report of the Legislation Working Party will be moved to a subsequent meeting (date to be confirmed) to ensure as full a debate as possible. Should there be any urgent business to consider, Council members have been asked to remain available via email on the date originally scheduled.

Whether to proceed with or adjourn upcoming Disciplinary Committee hearings will be decided on a case-by-case basis, to balance maintaining the health and welfare of all involved with the College’s responsibility to protect animal health and welfare and public health.

Resources for other activities such as ViVet, leadership and innovation may be re-directed in the short-term, to help with the College’s immediate and ongoing response to the pandemic; an increasing number of RCVS events are having to be postponed or cancelled, with individual announcements made in each case. The College’s latest advice for the professions on coronavirus is available online.

In recent years, RCVS staff have become accustomed to remote working on an occasional basis, with the necessary equipment, protocols and security in place to support this. Over the last few weeks, this capability has been increased further and the systems tested to ensure they can cope.

“We have been planning for this eventuality for some time, so whilst Monday’s announcement from UK Government came a little sooner than expected, we are in a strong position to be able to operate as close to normal as possible,” says Chief Executive Lizzie Lockett.

“We have an excellent and highly committed team of staff and Council members at the College, who I know will continue to work hard from kitchen tables, studies and living rooms over the coming days and weeks to serve the veterinary professions and the animal-owning public.

“Whilst we are fortunate that much of our work can be carried out remotely, we fully appreciate that this is not the case for most veterinary professionals who themselves are currently facing many significant challenges in their daily work to care for the nation’s animals whilst also prioritising the health and welfare of their own teams.”

The College will continue to use all normal communication channels to relay its latest advice to veterinary professionals and practices, including email, social media, the RCVS website and the veterinary press. To this end, all individual vets and vet nurses, and all veterinary practices in particular, are requested to check they have supplied the College with their most up-to-date email address via the College’s website.