RCVS position on non-veterinary surgeons undertaking dentistry.

section 19 (4) of the Veterinary Surgeons Act provides that:

‘Subsection (1) of this section shall not prohibit-

 

(d) the carrying out or performance of any treatment, test or operation by a registered medical practitioner or a registered dentist at the request of a person registered in the register of veterinary surgeons or the supplementary veterinary register;’

 

Our position is that it is not permissible for human medics/dentists to use this routinely. Circumstances in which it may be appropriate to use the exemption would be where a veterinary surgeon needs to obtain the assistance of a medic/dentist with some complex surgery which otherwise could not be undertaken by any veterinary surgeon, and where the veterinary surgeon has identified a specific problem and has requested the involvement of a medic/dentist for a particular purpose. Each case should be determined on its own merits to see if it is suitable for a medic/dentist to be involved – and because the circumstances are so rare in which it should be invoked, it would be likely that the RCVS would be approached for advice on doing so before each instance.

For the vast majority of dental cases, the necessary expertise will exist in the veterinary world and so there would be no need to invoke the exemption. We would not expect a veterinary surgeon to use the exemption for cost reasons or to avoid referring a client to another veterinary surgeon. There would need to be a solid justification for why the necessary treatment could not be done by a veterinary surgeon. If a veterinary surgeon was to use the services of a registered dentist routinely for animal dentistry, there could be both animal welfare and professional conduct implications.

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