Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has launched the new Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) to the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions, which is now open for applications for both practice accreditations and the brand new system of PSS awards. BEVA has been closely involved with the development of this new scheme and Tim Mair, as Chair of BEVA’s Clinical Practice Committee has been a key member of the team that has revised and updated the standards.

Speaking after the launch at the London Vet Show, which over 200 veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and practice managers attended, Practice Standards Group chair Jacqui Molyneux, said:

“The new Scheme is all about offering a pathway to improvement for practices of all shapes and sizes that want to aspire to excellence, and then highlighting these achievements to the animal-owning public in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

“Over half of all veterinary practice premises in the UK are already RCVS-accredited, which is fantastic for a voluntary scheme, but we’d really like to help more practices to get on board. I hope that the improvements and exciting new benefits that we’ve developed will make the Scheme even more rewarding for existing members, and encourage more people to join.”

The main changes to the Scheme, which was established in 2005, have been based on feedback from the profession and input from the Practice Standards Group (PSG), with the dual aims of making it more accessible for those practices which aren’t yet PSS members, and even more rewarding for those who are already accredited.

Whilst retaining the existing accreditation levels across small animal, equine and farm animal practices (current RCVS-accredited practices will be automatically transferred to the new Scheme), a new modular structure helps to make the Scheme more flexible and ensure all types of veterinary practice – from ambulatory services to veterinary hospitals – can join. This structure also recognises the contributions of the whole practice team, helping to raise standards across the board.

Once accredited, practices can now apply for a range of optional awards that focus on outcomes and behaviours in specific areas, such as ‘In-patient Service’, ‘Team and Professional Responsibility’ and ‘Client Service’. Designated at either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, these awards should help clients understand where a practice excels, and what skills and services are on offer, enabling them to make choices based on their needs and preferences.

The RCVS has also recruited and trained a new team of assessors, who will take more of an interest in listening to practice staff rather than just checking paperwork and equipment. It has also developed an online administration and support tool – nicknamed Stanley – to provide document storage, a calendar and a self-assessment function, to make the accreditation and awards application processes quicker and easier to manage.

As an introductory offer, the RCVS is now inviting applications from practices that would be willing to help with a final round of testing of the new Scheme, to be in with a chance to win one of 20 free assessment days, worth £350. The offer is open from today [20 November] until Friday 4 December, and the first 20 practices drawn at random on 7 December will be allocated the free assessments.

Full details about the draw, the new Scheme and how to apply for accreditation and/or awards are available at, together with a new promotional video that introduces the new PSS and summarises all the changes and new benefits.


1.     The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in the UK and sets, upholds and advances veterinary standards, so as to enhance society through improved animal health and welfare.

2.     The Practice Standards Scheme was first established in 2005 and, in keeping with the original pledge to ensure it was continually updated and improved, this is the second time the Scheme has been overhauled.

3.     The Scheme is coordinated and developed by the Practice Standards Group – a steering committee chaired by a representative of the RCVS (currently Mrs Jacqui Molyneux MRCVS) and comprising representatives of the main veterinary and veterinary nursing organisations. Details of the PSG composition are available at

4.     The Scheme is administered by the PSS Team at the RCVS, details of whom are available at:

5.     Details of the PSS Assessors are available at:

6.     The PSS video is available at (embed link: and frames (jpg files) are available on request.

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