Monday, December 22, 2014 - Mark Humph Mark Humph

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is launching a consultation on proposals to allow all RCVS-registered veterinary surgeons to use the courtesy title ‘Dr’/‘Doctor’, and is seeking the views of all members of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions, and the general public.

The proposals were raised by RCVS President Stuart Reid at RCVS Day in July 2014, with the aims of aligning the UK with international practice, providing greater clarity for the profession and offering reassurance to clients and the animal-owning public that all veterinary surgeons registered with the RCVS, regardless of where they qualified, have veterinary degrees of an appropriate standard.

In his speech in July, Professor Reid highlighted that most international veterinary surgeons use the title and that, in Australia and New Zealand, this is frequently tied to registration and professional standing, rather than necessarily academic attainment. He went on to outline that, of the three main clinical degrees in the UK, ie medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, only veterinary surgeons do not use the courtesy title ‘Doctor’.

“Added to this,” says Stuart, “given the fact that all continental EU graduates carry the title ‘Doctor’, there is now a greater chance of confusion for the lay public than previously.

“This is now an opportunity to provide, for those UK veterinary surgeons who wish it, the legitimate use of a title that offers a level of parity with fellow medical professionals.”

The key objective of the consultation is to gauge whether the public and the profession are in favour of the proposal, not in favour of it, or don’t mind either way. If agreed, the use of the title would be optional, although the College would regulate its use through the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.

Background information and draft guidance on using the title is available to read on the RCVS website here, from where respondents can follow a link to answer the consultation questions.

The consultation will open officially on Tuesday, 6 January for six weeks (deadline for responses is 5pm on Monday, 16 February) although it is already available to view via the RCVS website, to allow more time for responses over the Christmas and New Year break.

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