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New Practice Standards Scheme gives pet owners more choice

Speaking at the public launch of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Practice Standards Scheme on 27 March, Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of the Feline Advisory Bureau, emphasised how RCVS accreditation will allow owners to make an informed choice about the standard of their pets’ veterinary care.

She said: “Based on our research and extensive contact with cat owners, I believe that this accreditation Scheme addresses many issues of concern - including queries that pet owners probably didn’t even think they could raise. Owners can be reassured that an RCVS Accredited Practice has been inspected and reached certain standards. It gives them an understanding of practice facilities and a point of reference for finding out more.”

Through setting standards and carrying out regular inspections, the Practice Standards Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care. 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.
Ms Bessant continued: “Owners have little idea of what goes on behind the scenes in a practice or what should be standard veterinary care. They want a local practice where they will get compassionate, respectful, well-informed and competently delivered treatment for a fee they can understand. The Scheme will cover many of these areas and foster a great understanding of practice for clients.”

The Feline Advisory Bureau works with practitioners, academics, veterinary nurses, breeders, catteries and owners to promote the health and welfare of cats through increased feline knowledge. For example, it is committed to improving the quality of boarding catteries and is soon to be launching a Cat Friendly Practice Scheme to raise awareness of the specific needs of cats and their owners in the practice context.

Ms Bessant said: “We know that setting, implementing and policing standards is not an easy process. The RCVS Accreditation Scheme takes a large step forward in giving owners much more insight into practice standards and an informed choice for their pet.”
Members of the profession and the general public can check if practices are accredited, or search for an accredited practice, at www.findavet.org.uk
Further information about the Scheme is available by visiting www.rcvs.org.uk/practicestandards, e-mailing practicestandards@rcvs.org.uk or calling 020 7202 0767.