The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons



RCVS building in London, the Belgravia House.

RCVS building in London, the Belgravia House.

The RCVS is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is an active public body, independent from the Government. Why do you need to know them?


  • Because being part of the Register of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is the first step you need to take in order to be able to work in the United Kingdom as a Veterinary Surgeon.

When you register with the RCVS you become MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). They regulate the Veterinary Surgeons and they also hold a Register for Veterinary Nurses.


If you are not registered with the RCVS you cannot perform any medical acts as a veterinary surgeon legally!


The most fundamental document for any Veterinary Surgeon working in the UK is the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons. This document sets up EVERYTHING you need to know about the profession and your responsibilities to animals, clients, the profession, vet team, public and RCVS. You can see this online on the RCVS website or download it.


Because the laws, culture and welfare are likely different from those of your own country, the RCVS reckons you should try to familiarise with these. All this information can be very overwhelming and we’ll try to tap on some of it on this website, but because the information is complex, the RCVS has actually created a course together with the BVA (British Veterinary Association) and the VDS (Veterinary Defence Society). From what I can see, they don’t run the course regularly, but you’ll be able to see when the next course is available on their website.


The responsibility of the veterinary surgeon is first and foremost to consider the health and welfare of the animals under his care.

In general, the pets are seen as a very dear member of the family and most owners will come down to a veterinary practice with concern and wanting to stop their animal from suffering.

The SPCA (both the RSPCA and the Scottish SPCA) currently has prosecution powers in cases of welfare compromise.

The RSPCA Logo
Scottish SPCA Logo