Following the Prime Minister’s decision to reintroduce national restrictions across England from 5 November until 2 December 2020, the RCVS has updated its guidance which explains the type of work that can be carried out by veterinary practices under varying government restrictions around the UK during the pandemic.

Generally, veterinary practices may remain open, but there are national variations in what services should be offered and how, including the conditions under which remote prescribing can be used to help support a case.

Wales currently has the tightest ‘firebreak’ restrictions, meaning practices can only provide essential and urgent work until midnight on 8 November 2020, thereafter, returning to usual operations in line with Wales’ standard measures around workplace safety.

England and Northern Ireland are under national restrictions (4 Nov – 2 Dec, and 16 Oct – 12 Nov, respectively), meaning practices can provide treatment essential for maintaining animal health and welfare, along with non-urgent work providing that social distancing measures and safe working can be maintained.

Veterinary surgeons practising in these three countries may also choose to support a case remotely at an earlier stage, for example, through the remote prescribing of POM-Vs without first having conducted a physical examination.

Scotland remains the only country under regional tiered restrictions, meaning practices can continue to provide treatment whilst maintaining social distancing; however, before remote prescribing is offered, veterinary surgeons should first consider whether the animal can be brought under their care.

The full guidance and corresponding flowcharts should be consulted together and are available at

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