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THE RCVS launched a new Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) at the London Vet Show on November 20. Introducing the new scheme to a room of more than 200 delegates, Jacqui Molyneux, chair of the Practice Standards Group, said that it offered ‘a pathway to improvement for aspiring practices’. Some 57 per cent of practices were already members of the PSS, which, she said, was good for a voluntary scheme – but the RCVS was keen to encourage more to join.
She explained that the process of revising the PSS had started two years ago and, since then, the Practice Standards Group had taken lots of feedback into account. Among the criticisms of the old scheme were that it was too rigid, that it was a ‘box ticking’ exercise, focused on premises and equipment and that it did not really have any impact on the veterinary outcomes in a practice. In response to the feedback, the new scheme considered the impact of veterinary care on animals. It focused on behaviour and outcomes, not just facilities and equipment.
Under the new PSS, the existing accreditation levels of Core, General Practice and Hospital remain, but the new scheme has a modular structure and offers a range of optional awards to allow practices to demonstrate to clients the areas in which they excel.
Dr Molyneux explained that the new modular structure was intended to make the scheme more flexible and to ensure that all types of veterinary practice could join. Currently accredited practices had been transferred to the new scheme at their existing level of accreditation, and a new category, that of Equine General Practice (Ambulatory), had been introduced to accommodate equine practices that did not have premises to hospitalise horses.