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RCVS to Hold Webinar on New Concerns Investigation Process

14 October 2014

UK - The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) will be holding a free webinar on Tuesday 21 October 2014 to explain the new way of handling concerns raised about the professional conduct of a veterinary surgeon or registered veterinary nurse.

The new concerns investigation procedure was implemented in August with the aim of streamlining the process and making it less stressful by improving communication and reducing the amount of time taken to resolve concerns.

The length of time taken to resolve complaints and lack of communication about the process were highlighted by both members of profession and the public as areas for improvement during last year’s First Rate Regulator consultation.

The free webinar, hosted by the Webinar Vet, will feature Eleanor Ferguson, Head of Professional Conduct, and Jerry Davies, Chair of the Preliminary Investigation Committee, explaining the new process in more detail.

Eleanor says: “The First Rate Regulator initiative conducted last year highlighted the fact that many veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses who had concerns raised against them felt that it took too long to resolve their case and that they were often unsure about its progress.

“We hope that this new system, which has been well received so far, will significantly reduce the stress and ‘fear factor’ felt by those subject to concerns.

Improved communication – including regular telephone contact and documentation in plain English - means that we aim to keep all those involved abreast of what stage of the investigation we are at.

“Greater flexibility will allow us to resolve concerns quicker and fast-track the most serious cases to the Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC); while improved communication – including regular telephone contact and documentation in plain English - means that we aim to keep all those involved abreast of what stage of the investigation we are at.”

The process has been improved in a number of areas, including:

  • a simpler three-stage structure comprising a new, initial assessment and investigation stage; further investigation by PIC; and, referral to Disciplinary Committee (DC);
  • small teams of three to initially manage concerns, to make the process more agile and flexible;
  • appropriate investigations as soon as possible to either resolve concerns quickly or enable the PIC to make a quicker decision;
  • improved contact, including phone calls to discuss case and establish a point of contact, and plain English documentation;
  • case managers to help manage expectations where possible by indicating the likely outcome;
  • improving service standards so that, from the day the concern is received, there will be acknowledgement within two days; a phone call within two weeks; the initial assessment/investigation within three months; any consideration by the PIC within nine months; and, any DC listing within 12 months. We aim to implement this time-scale within three years;
  • internal controls to help meet service standards and allocate extra resources if necessary;
  • fast-tracking of serious cases to the PIC, eg dishonesty, false certification, and serious convictions;
  • current older cases to be brought into new procedures as soon as possible;
  • improved communication of, and information about, the new procedures.

You can register for the free webinar via the Webinar Vet.

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