Consultation on Future Model of Animal MSK Industry Regulation

Posted: 30.06.2024
survey June 24

ACTION: Please complete the survey if you have an interest in the animal MSK industry.…

RAMP have been told that the more the industry can agree to solutions to the industry questions , then the more likely we will get the model we want in future regulation.
RAMP has stated it essential that our standards need to be adopted as minimum industry standards for Chiropractic, Osteopathic and Physiotherapy practitioners in animal care. Also future regulation should lead to autonomous practitioner status for fully regulated and qualified professionals.
In 2023 many of the Professional Associations contributed to a document that gave a high level view of what regulatory model the MSK industry would be comfortable with should the RCVS take over regulation of our sector.
However out with the scope of that 2023 document was how the governance may look and the titles that may be used by those on any future animal MSK register.
This is still premature and nothing has been decided but it would be good to get a feel for what the animal MSK industry wants. RAMP have no knowledge of what and when this information may be required , but in an attempt to get an idea of what potential registrants may be comfortable with, we ask you to give us your views. RAMP have also asked the Professional Associations to discuss the topics with their members.
When the time comes to make decisions there will only be a once in a generation opportunity to create a suitable title and achieve legislative change to develop regulation of the professions in animal care.

Statutory Regulation means you must be a registrant to practice under the title of your profession. The regulator has a legal mandate to enforce it standards.
Voluntary Regulation means practitioners volunteer to sign up to be accountable to a voluntary regulatory structure however there are no legal powers to enforce standards.
RAMP currently only register Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy however it is acknowledged a final regulatory model will need to include other practitioners.

Option 1. Statutory regulation under the umbrella of the RCVS Council.
This option would need a legislative change to allow the RCVS to regulate another profession. We have been waiting for parliamentary time for this for many years and there is no guarantee of when this might happen. Should this happen, it would then lead to negotiation on standards, protocols and possible protection of titles (and then possible secondary legislation to enable these changes). If this happens then the possibility is there would be a Allied Professions board/council that would run the affairs of the Allied Profession sector and this board/council would have a minority presence on the main RCVS Council.

Option 2. Stay as a voluntary regulated sector (RAMP model).
There would be no title protection or requirement for anyone to join. RAMP would continue to ensure standards of the registrants and advocate that vets and the public go to regulated practitioners. RAMP would need to make further moves to ensure that it was self funding to enable employed staff for the day to day running of the register. There would be continued support by a voluntary Council who would solely make decisions and give guidance.
Currently there is no indication what registration would cost under an RCVS model (Veterinary Nurses pay and enrolment fee £150 , and annual renewal of £82) but it is envisaged that under a voluntary model application and renewal fees would need to rise from current values to sustain a not for profit but self funding model.

Option 3. Return to 2015 and have a completely unregulated animal MSK Industry.

RAMP also ask what titles you prefer to use into the future?
For over 35years the human qualified practitioners who have protection of title when treating humans, have attempt to protect the titles in animal care for human trained practitioners. All attempts to date have failed, the industry has changed and the RAMP model initiated to help encompass a vastly expanding sector into a regulatory model in animal care.
We consider a new register will mean a whole new regulated profession of animal MSK practitioners regardless of training routes.

Option 1. Retain the titles of Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist with veterinary prefixes?
Many practitioners hugely value the titles they have worked hard to protect in human care. These titles are familiar to the public and so from a regulation point of view help the public understand the care they are seeking. If these titles were to be protected for animal care with a veterinary prefix (E.G. Veterinary Chiropractor) there would need to be change in legislation to allow this. This would not be dealt with in the primary changes to the Veterinary Surgeons Act.
For RAMP and the wider animal MSK industry to put forward this solution to the RCVS/DEFRA the human statutory regulators would need to be prepared to condone the use of the professional title with an animal prefix for qualified and regulated veterinary trained practitioners. RAMP are trying to find a solution to put forward as a general consensus, to prevent a solution being imposed on us and to prevent attention being taken from other important issues such as educational and professional standards, improving animal welfare by increased access to quality MSK care, and development of the professions within animal care.

Option 2: Create a completely new title (E.G. Animal Musculoskeletal Professional).
Everyone is registered under the same title and the individual practitioner markets what kind of care they deliver. This would be less clear to the public so not such a good term in regulatory terms but would negate the need for the human statutory regulatory bodies to condone a change in legislation around title. We would also need to think of a title.

RAMP are trying to find a solution to put forward as a general consensus, to prevent a solution being imposed on us and to prevent attention being taken from other important issues such as educational and professional standards, improving animal welfare, increased access to quality MSK care, and developing trust of the MSK professions providing animal care.
Please help us to steer the profession in the direction you want by answering the questions below.
Thank you for your time.

The RAMP Team

N.B. This is a separate survey to that published by the RCVS on July11th 2024 that pertains to the umbrella RCVS Council.