Fresh guidance and code change ahead of VetGDP roll-out

Comprehensive guidance for the RCVS’ high-profile replacement of the Professional Development Phase (PDP) has been launched ahead of the programme’s summer roll-out.

In one of its biggest undertakings this year, the royal college is launching its RCVS Veterinary Graduate Programme (VetGDP) to support new graduates develop their clinical and professional capabilities, resilience and confidence as they enter veterinary life.


Practices are being urged to sign up as RCVS-approved Graduate Development Practices and in doing so most have at least one VetGDP advisor among the staff in place to provide hands-on, one-to-one support to graduates.

Officially launching this summer, the college has already previously announced it is delaying the time frame to train and achieve the status to December – as long as participants are signed up and committed to meeting the requirements by then.

Detailed guidance

Ahead of the launch, the college has now prepared detailed guidance about everything practices need to know about the programme structure, scheme implementation and the online e-portfolios graduates must complete to complete the programme.

It also features information for prospective advisor vets on the support activities they should be prepared to provide to new graduates and the details on the e-learning they must undertake to be able to do this.

Code change

At its meeting on 18 March, RCVS council agreed changes to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons to reflect new obligations for veterinary graduates, advisors and other professionals involved in the programme.

The code change stipulates the programme is jointly led by the graduate and his or her advisor, and the practice has a responsibility for allowing the graduate and VetGDP advisor time for support activities.

A new locum VetGDP advisor role has also been created following feedback from the profession, specifically to help graduates on locum roles.

Building confidence

Sue Paterson – who chairs the RCVS education committee, which is driving the VetGDP project – said: “VetGDP builds on what we all do in practice every day when we have a new graduate – we build their confidence by starting with simple, straightforward tasks, and move through to more complex tasks as their knowledge and experience grows.

“Working with their VetGDP Advisor, new graduates will be able to decide where they want to focus and where they need support. It will enable the graduates to hone their skills in all the day-to-day activities they need to do in practice. Building their confidence means they will develop more quickly into competent, resilient members of the veterinary team.”

An interactive workshop on VetGDP is being held on 31 March and Dr Paterson goes into more detail in an Examination Room at

Credit: Fresh guidance and code change ahead of VetGDP roll-out

In-text: (Vet Times, 2021)

Vet Times. (2021). Fresh guidance and code change ahead of VetGDP roll-out [online] Available at: Fresh guidance and code change ahead of VetGDP roll-out