We are a charitable incorporated organisation, founded in 2014. Membership is open to individuals who are RCVS Recognised Specialists, European Veterinary Specialists and/or AMVM-ABVS Recognized Veterinary Specialists and are working in the UK.
Our aim is to advance the education of the public and the wellbeing of animals through the development, understanding and application of veterinary specialist care. We help the public find vet specialists who may be able to help their animals and we promote open communication between animal owners, primary care vets and vet specialists.
There are more than 30 different types of Vet Specialist working in the UK. There are specialists for most species from dogs, cats and rabbits to horses, zoo animals, farm animals and even fish. Specialists have studied disciplines like pathology, diagnostic imaging or anaesthesia to an advanced level. They are available, usually via a referral from a primary care vet, to help your animals.
Specialists have undertaken an advanced post graduate training programme, usually over a minimum of three years, they have gained a post graduate qualification within their chosen field from a college overseen by the European Board of Veterinary Specialists or the American Veterinary Medical Association-American Board of Veterinary Specialists or been awarded a Diploma of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. To maintain specialist status, Vet Specialists must undergo a re-accreditation process, overseen by one of the EBVS, AVMA-ABVS colleges or the RCVS every 5 years. Many specialists are re-accredited by more than one authority.
Normally, Vet Specialists work in close collaboration with primary care vets. Animal owners should approach their primary care vet for advice on what specialist treatment or expertise might help their animal. Vets are obliged to facilitate a client’s request for a referral.
There are many factors which might influence your decision to consult Veterinary Specialists including specialist qualifications, experience, advanced skills, specific expertise and equipment or access to multidisciplinary teams. The location of the service, the urgency of treatment and your circumstances, including the availability and any limitations of insurance cover, should also be taken into account. Specialist veterinary care can involve extra costs but the Specialist’s ability to target the most appropriate therapies or tests increases value for money.
To be eligible to join BCVSp, you must be a vet eligible to work in UK and be an RCVS Recognised Specialist, a European Veterinary Specialist (i.e. hold a Diploma from one of the speciality colleges overseen by EBVS) and/or an AVMA-ABVS Recognized Veterinary Specialist (i.e. hold a Diploma from one of the speciality colleges overseen by ABVS). You do not need to have already been included the RCVS specialist list to join BCVSp. However, BCVSp’s consititution (item 4.11) states that we will encourage all our members to join the RCVS list of Veterinary Specialists and following RCVS guidance, we currently can only allow RCVS Recognised Specialists to post their profiles on our Find a Vet Specialist function.
The relevant section of the RCVS’s Code of Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons is 3.5 “Veterinary surgeons must not hold out themselves or others as specialists or advanced practitioners unless appropriately listed with the RCVS.”