The British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) have today launched a survey which will gather information to support their campaign for statutory protection of the title ‘veterinary nurse’. The data collected will provide an overview of how those within the veterinary profession feel about this issue, plus how it may or may not affect them, their patients and the public – who will also be surveyed.
The BVNA are supported in their ‘Protect the Title’ campaign by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Following the work of the RCVS Legislation Working Party (LWP), statutory protection of the title ‘veterinary nurse’ has already been recommended to the government (DEFRA) by the RCVS Council. This recommendation forms part of proposals for wider legislative change to the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act.
BVA and BVNA have since jointly written to DEFRA, to express their support for the recommendations made by the RCVS Council. Representatives from BVNA and BVA will also be hosting a discussion panel during BVNA Congress 2022, to provide delegates with the opportunity to ask questions about the campaign, and gain an insight into the process of legislative change.
The significance of protection of the ‘veterinary nurse’ title has been championed previously. In 2015, the RCVS started a government petition and campaign to establish whether this issue could be considered for a debate in parliament. Even though 36,000 signatures were received, this was not enough for a government petition at that time. However, BVNA have more recently collaborated with other professional associations who have achieved statutory title protection, such as the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN), to inform their approach to lobbying at this time.
The survey will gather information on how veterinary professionals feel about the title not being protected, and how this may impact them in their work – themselves, their patients, and pet owners. It will also provide more detail on the current understanding of the role of the veterinary nurse amongst the general public, and how they feel about the potential use of unqualified staff. Veterinary practices are also encouraged to share this survey aimed at the public amongst their clients.
BVNA President, Alex Taylor comments “statutory protection of the title ‘veterinary nurse’ is long overdue. The aim of the BVNA survey is to really dig deep and find out what this means to veterinary nurses, the wider profession and the public. Although change can take time, it is happening, but we need to produce evidence that will further support this change – filling in this survey will do just that. Whilst safeguarding animal and public health are good enough reasons alone, for many veterinary nurses protecting the title has special meaning because it helps us feel more valued as professionals, which is vital if we want a sustainable workforce”.
The surveys, for both veterinary professionals and the public, will be open between Monday 26th September and Wednesday 30th November. A report of the findings will then be produced and published by BVNA, which will also be presented to DEFRA to support the proposal.
To thank survey respondents, there will be the option to enter into a prize draw for two £25 Amazon vouchers (one for each survey) with winners selected every two weeks throughout the survey period.
The surveys are available at the following links:
For the veterinary profession; https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BVNAProtectTheTitle
For the public; https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BVNAProtectTheTitlePublic