The British College of Veterinary Specialists (BCVSp) has approached the RCVS Practice Standards Group (PSG) to look at the feasibility of a new Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) accreditation strand: Veterinary Specialist Hospital (Multidisciplinary), or VSH(M).

The BCVSp says the aim of its proposal is to identify practices that offer a multi-disciplinary referral service, to incorporate standards for specialist care and to define 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.

Terry Emmerson Hospital Director at North Downs Specialist Referrals and BCVSp trustee said: "Increasing numbers of veterinary graduates are choosing to pursue training leading to post-graduate diplomas and RCVS recognition as Specialists.

"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 multidisciplinary specialist hospitals from general veterinary hospitals in order to make informed choices regarding the veterinary care they wish to access for their animals."

BCVSp has proposed that prior to entry into the new strand, VSH(M)s would first be required to meet the Core, GP and Veterinary Hospital requirements in all of the modules (Small Animal or Equine as appropriate) and achieve Awards Points at Outstanding level in the relevant modules. BCVSp has put forward an outline plan which is currently being considered by the PSG in which VSH(M)s will be required to offer a minimum number of services but there will also be scope for individual units to highlight particular areas of expertise.

Celia Marr, BCVSp Chairman said: "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. 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, said: "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."

Photo: Newmarket Equine Hospital


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