A Working Party led by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has published guidance on ethical review for veterinary surgeons carrying out practice-based research.
The Working Party comprised representatives and experts from a range of veterinary organisations and research establishments [see Notes to Editors] and was chaired by Professor the Lord Trees.
The Working Party's report aims to assist veterinary surgeons who are carrying out practice-based research but who may not have access to the ethical review structure of a university or institute.
It explains the difference between clinical practice and clinical research, then focuses on clinical research that does not require Home Office authorisation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) (which authorisation includes mandatory ethical review).
The Working Party believes that "ethical review for all such [non-ASPA] research is advised".
The report recommends that would-be researchers develop relationships with veterinary institutes so as to be able to submit research proposals to their ethical review committees.
It also recommends that the RCVS considers establishing its own ethical review committee, and that the RCVS Recognised Veterinary Practice Committee be enlarged and better promoted to the profession.
"Practice-based research is to be encouraged, and is becoming increasingly common and sophisticated," says Lord Trees, who is an RCVS Past-President and Council member. "However, it's not easy for those in practice to access ethical review support. We hope this report will enable practice-based research to be conducted to the best standards and to protect animals, the public and practitioners themselves."
Peter Jones, President of the British Veterinary Association, says: "Many practitioners are involved in clinically-based research and we welcome the guidance given in this joint RCVS/BVA report, which can inform our members of the regulations and best practice required and will enable them to attain high standards in the conduct of such research."
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