Are all practices the same?
The Veterinary practices section discusses how clinics have evolved over the years to meet the changing demands of the public.
In the companion animal field, clinics may be:
• Entirely first opinion, seeing pets when they are first sick or injured
• First opinion with some specialist referral work
• Entirely referral centres, all cases being referred by other veterinarians because of special knowledge in a particular field
• Dedicated emergency night clinics
In addition the veterinary schools and other specialist centres will provide a referral service.
Within the UK, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is responsible for maintaining standards. They have recently introduced a voluntary practice standards scheme, and the following is taken from the RCVS website:
Ensuring the best possible veterinary care
Pets are often treated as members of the family and owners rightly want to be sure they receive excellent medical treatment. Horse owners and farmers also want to ensure their animals are receiving the best possible veterinary care. But how can you be sure?
A guarantee of stringent standards
The regulatory function of the RCVS has always meant that users of veterinary services could be assured that their veterinary surgeon was properly qualified and fit to practise.
Now, for the first time, the RCVS can offer reassurance that those practice premises which it accredits as part of the Practice Standards Scheme also meet stringent standards.
What is the Practice Standards Scheme?
The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices in the UK.
Through setting standards and carrying out regular inspections, the Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care. It offers peace of mind to clients of accredited practices and more informed choice to the animal-owning public.
To become accredited, practices volunteer for rigorous inspection every four years and will have met a range of minimum standards including hygiene, 24-hour emergency cover, staff training, certain types of equipment and cost estimation procedures. They may also be subject to spot-checks between inspections.
Look for the logo
For peace of mind, people should look for the RCVS accredited practice logo, which indicates that the practice has passed an independent inspection.
This means high standards of care for pets and peace of mind for pet owners.
To check if a practice is accredited, or find one that is, use the RCVS “Find a vet” service.