The Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) will to permit veterinary surgeons in the UK to use the courtesy title ‘Doctor’, in a decision that has been welcomed by British Veterinary Association (BVA).
The RCVS’ announcement follows a consultation that received over 11,000 responses. The use of the title is optional and guidance has been produced to support the change, including emphasis on the importance of not misleading the public. This includes ensuring that a veterinary surgeon’s use of ‘Doctor’ or ‘Dr’ does not imply or suggest they hold a medical qualification or a PhD. If the title is used, it should be used in conjunction with the veterinary surgeon’s name and either the descriptor ‘veterinary surgeon’ or the postnominal letters ‘MRCVS’.
BVA President John Blackwell said: ‘The phenomenal response to the RCVS consultation on veterinary surgeons’ use of the courtesy title ‘Doctor’ shows how much this issue matters to our colleagues and our members. The move brings the UK in line with international usage of ‘Doctor’, most veterinary surgeons worldwide using the title.
‘The RCVS has been extremely well-led in the consultation by its President, Professor Stuart Reid, who made a clear commitment to consider the use of the title when he took office last summer.
‘It is particularly heartening that one in five of the respondents to the consultation were animal-owning members of the public. This is a testament to the high regard that clients hold their vets in. We know this respect has to be earned and that we cannot be complacent about this. Together with the RCVS, BVA will continue to work towards the highest standards in the veterinary profession for all of us, whether or not we choose to use the title ‘Doctor’’.