Profession welcomes plans for review of remote prescribing

Profession welcomes plans for review of remote prescribing

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed an announcement from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) that the review of ‘under care’ and 24/7 is due to resume following the interruption caused by the pandemic.

The Association has also hailed plans for the RCVS Council to review the temporary guidance which allows vets to prescribe POM-V products remotely and without a physical examination. It called on the College to bring the temporary measure to an end.

In mid-September, the BVA wrote to the RCVS expressing concern about the August extension to the temporary guidance. In the latest update from the RCVS, the temporary measure has now been extended until the end of October but the flowchart and guidance have been updated to add some additional steps before a POM-V product can be prescribed remotely.

While BVA supported the original decision in March as a pragmatic solution and direct response to government restrictions surrounding Covid-19, it is now questioning the ongoing need for such a relaxation in the rules.

In the letter to the RCVS, the BVA also asked for a timeframe for the publication of the results of the RCVS survey of practices’ experiences of remote consulting and prescribing.

Commenting, BVA President James Russell said that while the Association understood the need for remote prescription of POM-Vs in the circumstances, the profession had adapted well and was now able to work and see patients safely.

‘Whilst we recognise the RCVS has provided additional guidance for the remote prescribing of POM-V, we cannot currently see any reason why a new client would be unable to access in-person veterinary care in the first instance and we are asking RCVS Council to reconsider this measure when it meets in October,’ added Mr Russell. ‘It makes sense to continue allowing vets to remotely prescribe for existing patients, for example if an owner is shielding, but we feel it is no longer appropriate to be remotely prescribing to animals that have never been physically examined by the vet.’

The president also welcomed the resumption of the College’s review into the temporary measures around POM-Vs, pointing out that the longer they were in place, the greater the expectation from pet owners that they would always be in place and the harder it will be to discuss a way forward.

‘As a profession, we are rightly concerned about antimicrobial resistance and we pride ourselves on the responsible use of medicines. Continually extending the temporary measures without a full analysis would risk undermining our position,’ added Mr Russell.