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Pets’n’Vets partner opposes profession’s decision that vets should be called Doctor

ROSS Allan, a partner in The Pets‘n’Vets network of veterinary surgeries in and around Glasgow, opposes the decision of his profession that veterinary surgeons may use the courtesy title ‘Doctor’.

The purpose of permitting all registered veterinary surgeons registered to use the courtesy title ‘Dr’ is to align the UK with international practice and to provide greater clarity for the profession and the public.

Those in favour of the use of ‘Doctor’ for vets argue that it offers reassurance to clients and the animal-owning public that all registered veterinary surgeons, regardless of where they qualified, have veterinary degrees of an appropriate standard.

Further, it is argued that UK vets using ‘Dr’ would help prevent confusion by bringing them into line with international colleagues. However, those against the use of ‘Doctor’ point out that not all veterinary surgeons are entitled to call themselves ‘Dr’ in other European countries on completion of their undergraduate degree and that if veterinary surgeons wish to use ‘Dr’, the veterinary degree should be a doctoral degree.

Recent research revealed that some 80% of vets are in favour of being called ‘Dr’, whereas as some veterinary nurses felt that the use of ‘Dr’ could cause confusion amongst clients. Veterinary students were more in favour of the proposal than any other group whilst three quarters of the members of the public were in favour of the use of ‘Dr’ by veterinary surgeons.

Allan, who is set to become an Advanced Practitioner – the first known first opinion veterinary surgeon in West Central Scotland to achieve such status – said: “I find myself in the minority of my fellow veterinary surgeons in that I disagree with the use of the courtesy title ‘Doctor’.

“After all, just as in the medical profession, a specialist consultant is referred to as ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ because he is a surgeon, it is my view that the same logic should apply to the veterinary profession.”

As it stands, nothing prevents veterinary surgeons using the courtesy title ‘Dr’ if they wish to, through veterinary surgeons using the title are advised to be careful not to mislead the public.

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