On December 4th the land based training organisation, LANTRA launched an online consultation on National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Equine Dental Technicians (EDTs).  This are a collaborative work which has reached this stage after consultation with interested parties including members of BEVA, the RCVS, the BVDA, the BAEDT and individuals from WWAED.  The documents represent the consensus of  training and techniques for EDTs deemed appropriate by the vast majority of those consulted. 

LANTRA have taken into consideration the needs of the horse, the opinions of individuals involved and the previous attempts to create an exemption order (from the Veterinary Surgeons' Act) that have been revised in light of the current law.  Also considered was recent scientific evidence and best practice, and the needs of horse welfare which resulted in a categorisation of equine dental procedures based on veterinary medical expertise and potential risk that was agreed between the RCVS, BAEDT and BEVA in 2009 after being endorsed by human  and European veterinary dental associations.  The current categorisation of procedures can be seen on the RCVS or BEVA website.  If adopted , the documents will form the basis for training of EDTs in the future and will clarify for the horse owner, technician and veterinarian where their responsibilities and limitations lie. 

It is hoped that there will follow a legislative change endorsed by DEFRA which will legally endorse dental technicians to carry out procedures in catergory 2 (which is currently performed in many cases under an amnesty whereby the RCVS accept these  acts of veterinary surgery to be performed by suitably trained technicians often in  collaboration with veterinarians).  In addition it will encourage any individual seeking to perform procedures in categories 1 or 2 to seek proper training. It will also clarify those procedures which are categorised as invasive acts of veterinary surgery, that demand a veterinary training which it will remain illegal for non veterinarians to perform or for veterinarians to delegate to any non-veterinarians. 

This the latest forward step in a long process, which has the aim of recognising the skills and expertise of appropriately trained technicians,  to clarify the limitations of  treatments suitable to be performed by non-veterinarians to the public and professionals,  and to encourage further collaboration between members of the equine health team to improve equine oral health. 

BEVA has been intimately involved in the progress so far, but we would encourage members to voice their independent views by completing the consultation document which can be accessed on the URL as below. Our view is that the NOS are a good stepping stone to an exemption order, thereby legalising the techniques which EDTs perform every day, but also, importantly draw a line where the job of the EDT finishes and that of the vet, takes over.

Please go to www.consult-on.com, register and follow the instructions. The consultation closes on 13th January 2013

If you have any specific queries, please do contact head of our paraprofessional committee, Henry Tremaine or president, Keith Chandler, via the BEVA office.

Henry Tremaine BEVA Honorary Information Officer