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ALMOST 100 people gathered at Nottingham vet school on January 24 for the third meeting of the Association of Charity Vets (ACV). The association's chair, Rachel Dean, commented that the delegates brought with them a wide range of knowledge and experience and that one of the purposes of the association was to ensure that this was shared among its members.
The meeting covered a wide range of subjects, from clinical governance, through animal hoarding and animal abuse, to dealing with a disease outbreak in an animal shelter. Delegates were also offered a choice of workshops on topics such as dealing with wildlife, illegal imports and acting as an expert witness.
Discussing clinical governance in a charity environment, Steve Howard, head of clinical services at the PDSA, said that keeping things simple was key. He described two clinical audits that the PDSA had carried out – one looking at postoperative complications and the second at general anaesthetic deaths. He also considered the importance of protocols which, he said, gave clarity to staff and clients on the standards to be expected. Benchmarks were ‘invaluable’ when developing protocols and designing audits and, to keep things simple, a protocol should focus on one area only, while a single question should be posed when designing an audit.
Noting that the RCVS recommended the use of checklists, Mr Howard described the surgical safety checklist introduced by the PDSA about 18 months ago. This was designed to minimise risk, with clinicians and staff running through the list before induction of anaesthesia, before surgical intervention and then before closure of the wound.
People who hoarded animals were often …