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BEVA Publishes Schedule 3 Guidelines To Support ERVN Skills

5 months ago

18th September, 2023 15h19


BEVA has translated Schedule 3 into guidance specifically designed to support equine veterinary professionals and businesses by describing how equine Registered Veterinary Nurses (eRVNs) are permitted to work. The guidelines have been accepted by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and are supported by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA). 

The new guidelines, which were launched this month at a live webinar by Marie Rippingale Chair of the BEVA Equine Nurses Committee, were the topic of a panel discussion at BEVA Congress on Saturday 16thSeptember 2023. A panel of experts made up of equine vets, equine nurses, and representatives from the RCVS, talked in depth about Schedule 3 and the use of the BEVA guidelines and took questions from delegates. 

BEVA was motivated to issue the Guidelines in response to a survey on recruitment and retention. The survey results highlighted that a lack of understanding of Schedule 3 procedures, together with a reluctance to delegate appropriate Schedule 3 procedures to eRVNs as significant contributing factors to retaining them within the profession.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Schedule 3 Amendment) Order 2002 provides that veterinary surgeons may direct registered or student veterinary nurses who they employ, to carry out limited veterinary surgery. Under this Schedule 3 exemption, the privilege of giving any medical treatment or carrying out minor surgery, not involving entry into a body cavity, is given to:

Registered veterinary nurses under the direction of their employer to animals under their employer's care. The directing veterinary surgeon must be satisfied that the veterinary nurse is qualified and suitably trained to carry out the medical treatment or minor surgery. 

Student Veterinary Nurses (SVNs) under the direction of their employer to animals under their employer's care. In addition, medical treatment or minor surgery must be supervised by a veterinary surgeon or registered veterinary nurse and, in the case of minor surgery, the supervision must be direct, continuous and personal. The medical treatment or minor surgery must be carried out in the course of the student veterinary nurse's training (RCVS, 2023).

The RCVS has interpreted these terms as follows:

·      'Direction' means that the veterinary surgeon instructs the veterinary nurse or student veterinary nurse as to the tasks to be performed but is not necessarily present.

·      'Supervision' means that the veterinary surgeon or registered veterinary nurse is present on the premises and able to respond to a request for assistance if needed.

·      'Direct, continuous and personal supervision' means that the veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse is present and giving the student veterinary nurse his/her undivided personal attention (RCVS, 2023). 

“We hope BEVA’s Schedule 3 guidelines will help with the delegation of Schedule 3 procedures to eRVNs, enabling them to have more fulfilling clinical careers, which will contribute positively to retention,” said Marie Rippingale. “We also hope the guidelines will help reduce the workload of equine veterinary surgeons, improving their wellbeing and positively affecting retention. Overall, we hope the use of the guidelines will lead to improved welfare for equine patients.”

To find out more about BEVA’s schedule 3 guidelines visit


RCVS, (2023), ‘Delegation to veterinary nurses’, [Online], Available at: , [Accessed 9th January 2023]. 


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