The RCVS has announced new measures to enable the cost of annual renewal fees to be spread out over the course of the year in light of the continuing pandemic.
The measures were agreed by its council, and will allow UK members to not pay their full renewal fee in one go, but instead spread the cost over three instalments: paying 50% of the full cost by 30 April, 25% by 30 September, and the remaining 25% by 31 December.
Dr Kit Sturgess, treasurer of the RCVS, said: “We recognise that most veterinary businesses will be seeing a downturn during the coronavirus lockdown, especially as veterinary practices reduce their workloads to emergency-only procedures or those that can be classed as urgent.
“Furthermore, we understand that many individual veterinary surgeons will no longer be working, and that this will cause financial difficulties for many vets and their families.”
He added: “We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for the profession, and as part of our compassionate approach to regulation we wanted to do our bit to help people manage the difficult financial consequences of the coronavirus crisis, and to help them to return to work as soon as government advice allows.
“While fees for veterinary nurses are not due until the end of the year, we will keep the impact of the coronavirus pandemic under review on an ongoing basis.”
This policy only applies to UK-practising members, though fees for other categories of membership are lower.
However, any member who does not pay the first 50% instalment by the end of April will need to pay the full amount in one instalment by the end of May. Should they then fail to make that payment, the college would then have to remove their name from the register.
The RCVS added that any UK member wishing to switch to the payment-by-instalments system should cancel their existing direct debits immediately (the college has already temporarily deferred these direct debits for around 10 to 14 days to allow time for them to be cancelled).