The RCVS has today announced that retention fees paid by veterinary surgeons are set to rise by 150%, from £340 to £850 per annum.

According to the College, the increase in fees is needed primarily to develop its regulatory capacity for paraprofessionals. However it also says it needs to increase fees to pay for a new, Midlands-based headquarters designed by Foster and Partners, following the announcement last year about the sale of Horseferry Road.

Brexit is another significant factor in the decision to raise fees.

As has been widely reported, the College has already been on a number of fact-finding trips to India, with a view to making up the shortage of vets in the UK with graduates from Indian vet schools. But however forward-thinking these trips were, they have not borne fruit in time for Brexit.

For this reason, the College has announced that it has set aside an emergency contingency fund of £6M in order to fly as many as twenty veterinary surgeons from India and pay them to act as OVs on short term contracts in the event of a no deal Brexit.

An RCVS spokesperson said: "Brexit has dominated proceedings over the last two years, and we have been working collaboratively with our colleagues in Defra and the BVA to make appropriate plans to ensure that vital veterinary work will continue, whatever the outcome of Brexit. However, we have been unable to persuade the government to put veterinary surgeons on the Shortage Occupation List and our only alternative is to recruit from abroad."

Dr Frill Poao from the Indian Veterinary Association Kerala said: "We are standing by to help our British colleagues in their time of need".

Photo: Could the new RCVS headquarters look something like this? Foster and Partners also designed London City Hall. Gary Knight / Wikipedia CC BY-SA 2.0

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