Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council member Professor the Lord Trees has submitted a Private Members’ Bill to the House of Lords which would legally protect the title ‘veterinary nurse’.

Lord Trees submitted the ‘Veterinary Nurses (Protection of Title) Bill’ to the ballot of the House of Lords on Tuesday 19 May. This means that, if drawn sufficiently highly in the ballot, the Bill will be debated in the Lords and the Commons and, if approved by both Houses, would become law.

As it is drawn up, the Bill would prohibit use of the title ‘veterinary nurse’ for any person whose name is not on the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. Any non-registered person who used the title veterinary nurse or a name, title or description that implied they were on the Register would be guilty of an offence and may be fined or convicted under the Veterinary Surgeons Act.

Lord Trees commented: “It is very exciting, and a privilege, to be entering a Private Members’ Bill to protect the title veterinary nurse into the ballot for Private Members’ Bills in Parliament. If we are drawn high enough in the ballot and if we can get Parliamentary time – two important ‘ifs’ – I am confident that the Bill will receive total cross-party support.

“It would mark the final brick in the wall of creating a fully-fledged, recognised and protected veterinary nursing profession. This is what the veterinary nursing profession merits and the public deserve.”

The House of Lords ballot will be drawn before the summer recess. In the meantime, the RCVS is encouraging registered veterinary nurses to back its campaign to protect the title and raise awareness of the issue with their clients. Further details about the campaign, including a short animated film, can be found at www.rcvs.org.uk/vntitle