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Following from yesterday’s publication of a new RCVS flowchart, indicating a higher degree of flexibility for veterinarian treatments of non-emergency cases under the coronavirus lockdown, BEVA and the RCVS have published further updates. This guidance will remain in place for the duration of the current lockdown.

BEVA reiterates the standard government advice that everyone should stay at home but acknowledges that “veterinary practices provide essential services to safeguard animal health and welfare, and it is vital that this work continues during the current lockdown.”

BEVA advises that for all veterinary work, individual vets and veterinary teams need to carefully try to balance the needs to maintain animal health and welfare and to work in ways that prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which means that while “the number of clients seen face-to-face should be kept to an absolute minimum”, instead of taking a prescriptive approach, BEVA now asks veterinary surgeons “to assess the risk to animal and human health prior to performing any visits or procedures.”

The BEVA statement continues:

“In particular, veterinary surgeons should determine whether the work unequivocally needs to be done within the next one to two months (i.e. it is time-sensitive work) or whether it can be delayed. For example, it is difficult to see a justification for performing PPE or poor performance investigations at the current time. If work cannot be delayed, then you need to determine whether it can be done safely (including maintaining 2 metres physical distancing from anyone else). If the work cannot be delayed, then it is appropriate to risk assess the specific circumstances and proceed if deemed safe and appropriate. However, if the work cannot be delayed but cannot be conducted safely, then you will need to use your professional judgement to devise a plan as how the situation can be resolved.”

The BEVA statement acknowledges that “some elective work that is fundamental to the functioning of the equine industry and this is acceptable where it can be performed in line with government recommendations for outdoor businesses.