RCVS Practice Standards

Priors Farm is a Tier 2 accredited equine General Practice under the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme. The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme was launched on 1 January 2005. It is the only scheme representing the veterinary profession and was set up to: Establish a quality assurance framework to promote and maintain the highest standard of veterinary care to make more information available about veterinary practices, and so give clients greater choice.

The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme has been embraced by the entire veterinary profession and replaces two schemes, one run by the British Veterinary Hospitals Association (BVHA)/Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and another by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA).

Under transitional arrangements practices already approved under these schemes may, upon application, be accredited under the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme at either Tier 2 (for practices that were formerly BSAVA approved) or Tier 3 (for practices that were previously BVHA/RCVS approved Veterinary Hospitals).

First inspection to the standards provided under the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme will take place in accordance with the inspection schedules operable under the previous schemes, i.e. four years from the date of last inspection. The transitional arrangements also provide that prior to 30th April 2005 an approved Veterinary Nursing Training Practice may on the basis of that approval, apply for accreditation at Tier 2 on a self certification basis. A rolling programme of formal inspection of these practices will commence in 2007.

Over 18 months of hard work by the Practice Standards Working Party and a broad consultation with the veterinary profession in the UK have resulted in the new RCVS Practice Standards Scheme.

Accreditation of Veterinary Practices

Every accredited practice has volunteered to undergo rigorous inspection by a qualified inspector every four years. It must meet the criteria appropriate for its type.

Between inspections it must certify annually that it continues to meet the necessary standards, and for further monitoring of standards, it may also be subject to spot checks.

All practice premises will be inspected. This means that the type of service available in branches, as well as in main premises, will be clearer.

Under the Scheme, a veterinary practice may be:

Accredited to Core Standards, these Standards apply to all types of accredited practices and signifies, at least, compliance with legal and health and safety requirements.

To be accredited to Core Standards, a veterinary practice:

  • Must put in place arrangements for 24-hour emergency cover for patients. (This might be done by the practice itself, or through arrangements with another practice or emergency service provider);
  • Must have appropriately trained staff for work undertaken (Veterinary qualifications and insurance are checked);
  • Must comply with minimum standards of cleanliness and hygiene;
  • Must make clients aware of arrangements for checking and monitoring patients if kept in overnight;
  • Must ensure clients are given estimates of costs of treatments and consent to procedures undertaken;
  • Have basic diagnostic and surgical equipment for the work undertaken. These must be installed and maintained in accordance with health and safety requirements;
  • Must have an effective policy for communication with clients;

Accredited as a General Practice - species/discipline specific

These practices may be accredited for Small Animals, Farm Animals, Equine Patients or as an Emergency Service Clinic or as a combination of these. Priors Farm is an accredited Equine Practice. To be accredited as an RCVS General Practice, a veterinary practice:

  • Must put in place arrangements to provide 24-hour emergency cover for patients. This might be done by the practice itself, or through arrangements with another practice or emergency service provider;
  • Must make clients aware of arrangements for checking and monitoring of patients kept in overnight;
  • Must have a system for monitoring the outcome of treatments;
  • Must show ongoing commitment to education and training of staff;
  • Must keep premises clean and well maintained;
  • Must have a policy for communicating with clients and looking at feedback;
  • Must ensure clients are given estimates of the costs of treatments and consent to procedures undertake
  • Have access to laboratory facilities for diagnostic testing;
  • Meet legal and health and safety requirements covering its premises, equipment, clients and employees;