The RCVS Council Covid-19 Taskforce yesterday (25 June 2020) decided to extend by six weeks the temporary guidance that allows veterinary surgeons to prescribe prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs) remotely, without first having physically examined the animal, subject to a number of conditions and safeguards being in place.
RCVS Council originally decided to change the supporting guidance to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct in March, in view of the nationwide lockdown measures in place at that time due to the coronavirus pandemic. This enabled veterinary practices to continue to provide the animal-owning public with veterinary services, a proportion of which via remote means, whilst safeguarding the health of their teams and clients.
As this position was due for review no later than 30 June, the Taskforce considered a number of key factors in relation to this guidance including: whether all types of veterinary practices could operate face-to-face under current distancing guidance; the risk factors associated with remote prescribing, in terms of animal health and welfare; and, a return to fuller practice caseloads across all types of species.
The Taskforce also considered the varying ability of clients to travel to practices, both in the case of those who might still be shielding and in view of the different rules in place across the four nations of the UK; the potential impact of quarantine relating to track and trace on practices; and, the need to ensure inclusivity of staff teams and enable as many as possible to contribute to the practice workload.