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BCVSp proposes Practice Standards Scheme accreditation for specialist hospitals 
“Many vets and nurses are working in groups that allow a multidisciplinary approach to be offered to animals with complex problems."
Proposal aims to identify practices that offer a multi-disciplinary service on a referral basis

The British College of Veterinary Specialists (BCVSp) is calling on the RCVS Practice Standards Group (PSG) to consider the feasibility of a Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) accreditation strand for multi-disciplinary specialist hospitals.

Its proposal aims to identify practices that offer a multi-disciplinary service on a referral basis. This incorporates standards for specialist care and defining training, veterinary and nursing qualifications, behaviours and facilities which optimise management of cases with complex problems and those requiring advanced diagnostic and/or therapeutic approaches.

“Increasing numbers of veterinary graduates are choosing to pursue training leading to post-graduate diplomas and RCVS recognition as specialists,” explained Terry Emmerson, hospital director at North Downs Specialist Referrals and BCVSp trustee.

“Many vets and nurses are working in groups that allow a multidisciplinary approach to be offered to animals with complex problems. We hope that we can devise a new accreditation strand to give the animal-owning public the ability to distinguish multi-disciplinary specialist hospitals from general veterinary hospitals in order to make informed choices regarding the veterinary care they wish to access for their animals.”

The BCVSp proposes that, prior to entry into the new strand, VSH(M) would first be required to meet the Core, GP and Veterinary Hospital requirements in all of the modules and achieve Awards Points at Outstanding level in the relevant modules.

It has put forward an outline plan, currently under consideration by the PSG, in which VSH(M) will be required to offer a minimum number of services. The BCVSp also said that there would be scope for individual units to highlight particular areas of expertise.

“A key element of the strand we are working on is that each service will be led by RCVS Specialists ensuring on-going accreditation of the experience and expertise within the range of services that together underpin a multidisciplinary approach to case management,” explained Celia Marr, BCVSp chairman. “We have consulted widely amongst our members to reach consensus on the standards each specialist service should be aiming for.” 

She added: “We hope to work together with the PSG to develop an accreditation within this strand over the next few years. However, working through the current PSS modules to Awards Points level is not easy. Specialist-staffed hospitals aiming for the multidisciplinary strand will need to start planning their approach as soon as possible.”

Mandisa Greene, chair of the Practice Standards Group, commented: “The RCVS Practice Standards Group welcomes BCSVp’s proposal and the passion of the group for developing this new accreditation level. Both the PSG and the RCVS Standards Committee will be working with the BCVSp to consider the proposal's feasibility, how the accreditation level might be achieved, potential levels of interest and other criteria in the coming months.

“It is critical that specific criteria which BCVSp and the RCVS Practice Standards Group develop together are clear, transparent and testable.”

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More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

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