Britain looks to improve specialist veterinary care choices

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Making informed decisions about choosing veterinary specialists may become easier for horse owners if a proposed accreditation scheme goes ahead.

The aim of the proposal is to identify practices that offer a multi-disciplinary service on a referral basis, incorporating 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,” said Terry Emmerson, Hospital Director at North Downs Specialist Referrals and British College of Veterinary Specialists (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 multidisciplinary 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 has approached the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Practice Standards Group (PSG) to look at the feasibility of a Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) accreditation strand. The BCVSp has put forward an outline plan which is currently being considered in which Veterinary Specialist Hospitals 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.

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