The RCVS will reduce the annual requirement of hours of continuing professional development (CPD) that vets are expected to undertake by 25% due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual minimum requirement for veterinary surgeons will be reduced from 35 to 26 hours of CPD, while veterinary nurse hours will be reduced from 15 to 11 hours.
The college said that it recognises veterinary professionals have seen a reduced workload, and that there is an “immense pressure on very many members of the professions to juggle professional and family, childcare and other caring responsibilities in very difficult circumstances”.
The reduced requirement has been implemented immediately to help relieve the pressure on vets and vet nurses, and a similar 25% reduction will also be introduced for veterinary surgeons holding advanced practitioner or RCVS specialist status.
The decision to reduce the hours was made on 30 March by the new RCVS Council Covid-19 Taskforce, chaired by RCVS president Dr Niall Connell, which was set up in order to make temporary policy decisions in light of the pandemic.
Niall Connell, president of the RCVS, said: “A number of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses expressed concern that it may be difficult to undertake CPD at present and so, in order to give the professions some breathing space, we decided we would reduce the minimum hours required for 2020.
“We also recognise that some practices are having to make the difficult decision to reduce their CPD budgets this year in response to falling footfall.”
He added: “However, it is worth reiterating that CPD need not be expensive or require physical attendance at lectures, congresses or other events. There are many online providers of CPD and other resources such as articles and webinars, some of which may be free.
“The key is that the CPD is relevant to you and enhances your professional practice and so we would still encourage all our members to undertake CPD as and when they can.”