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New proposals for the future direction of the RCVS Fellowship described as ‘concerning’

The BVA has raised concerns following the announcement that changes could be made to the RCVS Fellowship.

The RCVS plans to widen routes to Fellowship which they hope “will enable a greater range of veterinary surgeons representing all facets of the profession, including those involved in clinical practice, to have a realistic chance of becoming a Fellow if their contribution to practice and the profession warrants it.”.

The RCVS Fellowship is one of the highest awards and under the proposals the Fellowship could develop into a learned society, with new routes to entry to enable more veterinary surgeons to join the Fellowship.   

The two current routes to entry – Fellowship by Thesis and Meritorious Contributions to Learning – would be changed to Meritorious Contribution to the Veterinary Profession; Meritorious Contribution to Knowledge; and Meritorious Contribution to Clinical Practice.

Professor Gary England chaired the Fellowship Working Party that was set up in 2013 and developed the proposals in consultation with current Fellows. He explains: “By widening the routes to Fellowship we want to enable a greater range of veterinary surgeons representing all facets of the profession, including those involved in clinical practice, to have a realistic chance of becoming a Fellow if their contribution to practice and the profession warrants it.

However during the consultation on the proposed changes the BVA expressed serious concerns regarding ‘the way in which such a body would be funded and the appropriateness of aligning it to the RCVS as the regulatory body’.

It has also raised concerns regarding finance, stating: “There will be significant costs associated with running the proposed Fellowship including administrative staff and the time involved in receiving and evaluating applications.  It remains difficult to see how particularly in the early years that subscription income will be able to fund expenditure.”

However the BVA has also made clear its support for certain aspects of the proposals, including the structure of the Fellowship, the expansion of the criteria for applications and RCVS’s willingness ‘to work constructively and collaboratively with BVA’.

The full proposals can be read here.

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