RCVS Enhances Hospital Accreditation System

British veterinary practices can earn “Good” or “Outstanding” awards.

Qualified British veterinary practices may promote themselves as “Good” or “Outstanding” in a variety of areas under a revised accreditation system.

The updated Practice Standards Scheme, unveiled Nov. 20 at the London Vet Show, is designed to persuade more veterinary hospitals to achieve high levels of performance and service.

The system is managed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and a coalition of groups such as the British Veterinary Association and the Veterinary Practice Management Association.

“Over half of all veterinary practice premises in the U.K. are already RCVS-accredited … but we’d really like to help more practices to get on board,” said Jacqui Molyneux, MRCVS, chairwoman of the Practice Standards Group.

Accreditation and awards may be granted under separate guidelines for three practice types: small animal, equine and farm animal.

Small animal practices may seek accreditation in any of three areas: core standards, general practice and emergency service clinic. A fourth level, veterinary hospital, is reserved for practices that meet the core and general practice requirements.

Accredited hospitals then may apply for “Good” or “Outstanding” awards in areas such as diagnostic service or professional responsibility—achievements based on points earned in relevant sections, or modules, of the Practice Standards Scheme.

The accreditation system is similar to a program operated by the American Animal Hospital Association. More than 3,600 veterinary practices in the United States and Canada are AAHA-accredited, and they publicize the accomplishment as proof of excellence.

British practices may use the supplemental awards—something not offered by AAHA—to highlight their “achievements to the animal-owning public in a way that is clear and easy to understand,” Molyneux said. The awards may be displayed at the hospital and on promotional materials or websites.

“These awards should help clients understand where a practice excels, and what skills and services are [offered], enabling them to make choices based on their needs and preferences,” RCVS stated.

Grading the accreditation applicants is a team of 18 trained assessors “who will take more of an interest in listening to practice staff rather than just checking paperwork and equipment,” the organization added.

More information about the Practice Standards Scheme is available at www.rcvs.org.uk/newpss.

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