The Standards Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has this week decided that the temporary dispensation allowing remote prescribing of prescription-only veterinary medicines will end on Monday 14 March 2022.
The dispensation was originally introduced during the spring 2020 lockdown to safeguard animal health and welfare, the health and safety of the veterinary team, and public health, by allowing prescriptions to be made by veterinary surgeons without their having first physically examined the animal, subject to conditions and safeguards.
The Committee previously removed the dispensation in October 2021 but reinstated it in December 2021 in light of stricter rules on isolation and the threat of the Omicron variant. When making this decision, it agreed that this position should be reviewed again in February 2022.
At its meeting this week (7 February 2022), the Committee discussed the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19 and recognised that staff absences due to isolation requirements were still causing issues. However, given the relaxation of the requirement to work from home in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and relaxation of restrictions generally across the UK, the Committee felt it was time to end the dispensation.
Chair of the Standards Committee, Dr Melissa Donald MRCVS, said: “The safety and wellbeing of veterinary professionals, as well as the health and welfare of the animals they care for, have remained uppermost in our minds when considering this temporary position on remote prescribing.
“We are pleased to have been able to support the professions through a very difficult time by introducing this dispensation, however, it was only ever a temporary measure and, given the relaxation of restrictions across the UK, we feel the time has come to revert to our usual guidance.
“We will continue to keep the position under review in light of any changes, including governments’ advice and regulations, as we have throughout the pandemic.”
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