Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the United Kingdom. Established in 1844 by Royal Charter, its statutory duties are laid out in the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act.
On its website, the following roles of the RCVS are listed:
- To safeguard the health and welfare of animals committed to veterinary care through the regulation of the educational, ethical and clinical standards of the veterinary profession, thereby protecting the interests of those dependent on animals and assuring public health.
- To act as an impartial source of informed opinion on animal health and welfare issues and their interaction with human health.
Anyone who wishes to practice as a vet in the United Kingdom must first register with the RCVS. Eligibility for registration is based either on having a recognised qualification or by passing the RCVS statutory membership examination. After registration, the vet is entitled to use the letters MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) or FRCVS (Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) after their name.
During the ceremony of admission to the RCVS, members make a declaration:
"In as much as the privilege of membership of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is about to be conferred upon me, I promise and solemnly declare that I will abide in all due loyalty to The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and will do all in my power to maintain and promote its interests. I promise above all that I will pursue the work of my profession with uprightness of conduct and that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care".
The Royal Charter 
The 1844 Charter regulates particular aspects of the College's management of its affairs and gives it the power to award Fellowships, Diplomas and Certificates to veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, and others engaged in "veterinary science and its auxiliary sciences".
RCVS Practice Standards Scheme 
The regulatory role of the RCVS has always meant that members of the public could rest assured that their individual vet is properly qualified and fit to practise, and now the same assurance can apply to practice premises. The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices in the UK. Through setting standards and carrying out regular inspections, the Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care.
RCVS Accredited practices are able to display the RCVS accredited practice logo, which indicates that the practice has undergone a rigorous, independent inspection and various minimum standards have been met.
In order to carry out its statutory duties a Council of 42 Members governs the RCVS and meets three times a year. The President, Vice-Presidents (two), and Treasurer are elected by Council and together with the Chief Executive and Head of Legal Services/Registrar, form a team of Officers who have the main responsibility for running the RCVS.
- President (2012/13): Mrs J R Molyneux
- Vice President: Dr J V Davies
- Vice President: Col Neil Smith
- Treasurer: Dr BP Viner
- Registrar/Head of Legal Services: Mr G A Hockey
- Chief Executive: Mr N Stace
- Head of Finance: Ms Corrie McCann
- Colours and Markings of Horses (Revised 2005 and distributed by Weatherbys Bookshop)
- Directory of Veterinary Practices (Annual, published in October)
- RCVS Annual Report (Annual, published in June)
- RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct (Revised 2006)
- RCVS News (Newsletter - March/June/November)
- Register of Members (Annual, published in November)
- Veterinary Nurses List (Annual, published in March)