The University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine’s degree yesterday (Thursday 3 October) received approval by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council, meaning that, pending final approval from the Privy Council, those completing its veterinary degree will be able to register with the RCVS as veterinary surgeons in the UK.
The School of Veterinary Medicine welcomed its first cohort of students in September 2014, with its university building being formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen in October 2015. The 2014 intake of veterinary students graduated in July 2019 this year with RCVS President Niall Connell and RCVS CEO Lizzie Lockett in attendance.
Over the five years since the course was founded, the RCVS has been working with the University to help ensure that the development of its programme meets the College’s standards. This has included, in 2017 and 2018, interim visitations with a team of accreditation reviewers, and a final accreditation visit in 2019 comprising not only representatives from the RCVS but also from the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC).
The final visitation took place between 25 February and 1 March 2019, following which the visitation team submitted its report to the RCVS Primary Qualifications Subcommittee (PQSC) in April 2019. The PQSC then recommended to the Education Committee that the RCVS recognises the University of Surrey’s veterinary degree (subject to satisfactory external examiner reports, which were subsequently received). The Education Committee approved this recommendation in May 2019, and this in turn was agreed by RCVS Council in its meeting yesterday.
Dr Susan Paterson, the Chair of the Education Committee, who also attended the final visitation as an observer, said: “We are very glad to have reached the stage where we can formally welcome the University of Surrey on board as the eighth UK veterinary school to offer an approved degree, and that we will, from now on and pending Privy Council’s approval, be able to welcome its graduates onto the Register as proud members of the RCVS.
“We appreciate the immense hard work of both the faculty and the student body over the past five years in working to meet the College’s stringent accreditation standards and the effort that they have made to address our feedback and advice in a constructive and engaged way.
“When I observed at the final accreditation visit earlier this year I, along with the other visitors, was particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff, the network of partner veterinary practices and the student body to the school’s ethos and success. We also recognised that, with its unique ‘distributive model’ meaning that students can get direct clinical experience across 49 veterinary practice partners, the students have access to a large and diverse medical and surgical caseload.
“The final report contained a number of further recommendations and we look forward to continuing to work with the school over the next two years to help them meet our recommendations and suggestions.”
Professor Chris Proudman, Head of School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, added: “I am delighted that our new degree programme in veterinary medicine and science has been approved by RCVS Council for recognition by the Privy Council.
“This decision recognises the huge investment in veterinary education made by the university and the quality of the education that we offer. It is also validation of our innovative model of delivering clinical teaching through working in partnership with clinical practices and other organisations involved in animal health, which has proven very popular with our students.
“The commitment and enthusiasm of our partners has been truly inspiring and energising. I look forward to Surrey veterinary graduates making valuable contributions to the profession in a variety of ways over the coming years.”
A Recognition Order to recognise the University of Surrey’s Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Science (BVMSci Hons) will now be put before the Privy Council and, if it approves the Order, this will then be laid before Parliament. If the Order is approved by both the Privy Council and Parliament, the University of Surrey will then enter the cyclical RCVS accreditation process and be subject to annual monitoring.
The RCVS Primary Qualifications Subcommittee and the Education Committee have recommended that the next full visitation to the school should take place in two years’ time in order to inspect its progress in addressing the comments, suggestions and recommendations made in the final visitation report.
The executive summary of the final visitation report can be found in the papers for the October 2019 meeting of RCVS Council. These are available to download at: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/who-we-are/rcvs-council/council-meetings/3-october-2019/. The full report will be published in due course.
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