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Specialisation, self-assessment and measuring competency
  1. Chris May and
  2. Simon Swift
  1. Northwest Surgeons, Delamere House, Ashville Point, Sutton Weaver, Cheshire WA7 3FW

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THERE is a recurring theme of correspondence in the veterinary press regarding referrals and the role of ‘specialists’ in veterinary medicine. Comment often centres on the relevance of qualification and accreditation of specialists in the veterinary field and the merits or otherwise of those carrying higher (Diplomate or RCVS Recognised Specialist) qualifications when compared with those without such qualifications. The debate falls back to the claimed omnicompetence of veterinary surgeons, with an individual veterinary surgeon's competence in any given procedure (diagnostic or therapeutic) being left, ultimately, to self-judgement. This self-assessment of competence is enshrined in the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct. Section 2D, Maintaining Practice Standards, paragraph 34 reads: ‘All veterinary surgeons should recognise when a case is outside their area of competence and be prepared to refer it to a …

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