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Minutes of a General Meeting of the Society held on Monday 29th November 2004, at the Farmers' Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London, SW1A 2EL.

Present:  the President Mr. B. Hoskin and 19 Fellows and guests.

Apologies for absence had been received from 18 Fellows.

Minutes of the meeting held on 28th September 2004 had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising:  none.

Correspondence:  none

Any Other Business:  none.

The meeting was then addressed by Mr. John Parker, President of the RCVS, on "Current Topics at the RCVS".  Mr. Parker highlighted the regulatory rôle of the RCVS as contrasted with the representative rôle of the BVA, and described the procedures in force to monitor standards in education (including foreign universities offering registrable degrees), and to regulate professional conduct.  He also detailed the RCVS's work in encouraging CPD, including the awarding of certificates, diplomas and fellowships, the maintenance of the specialist registers, and involvement with VN education.  The RCVS also provides library and information services.

He then moved on to discuss the proposed new Veterinary Surgeons Act, the draft of which was almost complete.  This originates from DEFRA and includes new disciplinary procedures, a new constitution, and provision for the regulation of paraprofessionals.  However, the Act requires parliamentary time to move into the statute books, and there is some doubt as to whether this will be available.  The new 3-tier practice standards scheme was described, which will be voluntary from 2005 and may be mandatory with the new VSA.

Other matters discussed included the Education Strategy Group which provides support for new graduates and is envisaged in being involved in periodic revalidation; 24-hour emergency cover; the Competition Commission report, which has not been re-visited, perhaps because the inherent problems have finally been recognised; the new Animal Welfare legislation; whether testing for bovine TB is an act of diagnosis and the question of pre-movement testing; and Europe and the FVE.

Mr Parker concluded by discussing communications, including the new RCVS web site, RCVS News and e-news, the Annual Report, reports in the veterinary press, and involvement with parliamentarians and parliamentary committees.

There followed a wide-ranging and lively discussion.

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