Published: 11 Oct 2016 | Last Updated: 11 Oct 2016 14:36:16

The Royal Veterinary College’s Equine Referral Hospital has been deemed ‘Outstanding’ in all areas assessed by the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS), the UK’s accreditation system for veterinary hospitals and practices, operated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The Equine Referral Hospital, one of the largest and most advanced in the world, has been judged Outstanding in the four key categories of ‘Client Service’, ‘In-patient Service’, ‘Team and Professional Responsibility’ and ‘Diagnostic Services’.

RCVS Outstanding Client Services RCVS Outstanding In-patient Service RCVS Outstanding Team and Professional Responsibility RCVS Outstanding Diagnostic Services

The awards were made after two visits from PSS assessors, who examined the facilities and systems in place to ensure exceptional care, and also interviewed a broad range of team members to ensure that these systems translated to the highest possible standards.

The RCVS, which regulates the veterinary and veterinary nursing profession in the UK, introduced the PSS in 2005 and made substantial changes to the scheme last year, introducing the new ”Awards”.

The revised Scheme, launched last November, requires all members of the clinical team to be working and thinking to the highest possible standards, and for behaviours to be driving a strong culture of continuous improvement in patient care, where performance is measured, changes are made and outcomes audited.

In their report from the second visit, the assessors commented that “This hospital has a well-deserved international reputation for both the standards of care provided to patients, and the quality of teaching. All the team members we spoke to were enthused and keen to discuss their varied roles in the hospital. Their obvious levels of competence were impressive. The extent of support for more junior colleagues was high, as was the care taken to reduce safety risks to students.”

“The diagnostic and treatment facilities are state-of-the-art, and continually being upgraded to ensure that the highest quality of service continues to be provided. There was also excellent client communication, with full discussions at patient admission and detailed information supplied at patient discharge.”

They added: “A significant underlying theme at the hospital is striving for continual improvement. This is borne out by comprehensive clinical auditing.”

Commenting on the team’s success in the PSS, Professor Josh Slater, Clinical Director of the Hospital, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have achieved Outstanding in our latest Practice Standards Awards inspection. The Equine Referral Hospital has now been awarded all four hospital-based awards – for Team and Professional Responsibility, Diagnostic Service, In-Patient Service and Client Service - at Outstanding, which is the highest possible level of accreditation from the RCVS.

“The inspectors were not only impressed with our outstanding facilities and equipment but also with the professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm of everyone in the RVC equine team they talked to. These awards are designed to be difficult, and it is a magnificent team effort to have been awarded Outstanding for each of these awards. Our achievement reflects our commitment to delivering the very highest standards of patient care and to our culture of continuous improvement in everything we do.”

Head of Department of Clinical Science and Services, Professor Holger Volk added: “I could not be prouder of RVC Equine. The new RCVS scheme is not an easy one to be challenged on and our team has again outperformed on all modules assessed. It shows that not only are our equipment and facilities second to none, but even more importantly our people work to the highest professional standard possible.”

The state-of-the-art facilities observed by the assessors during the visits included the advanced diagnostic imaging facilities, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the intensive care unit and the operating theatres. The hospital’s clinical governance programme was singled out for particular praise by the inspectors as an example of sector-leading best practice.

RVC Equine Referral Hospital’s surgical suite contains an orthopaedic theatre, general theatre and a theatre to perform standing surgical procedures

The Outstanding designations for the Hospital comes on top of other excellent news for RVC Equine. Last month it was announced that the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has elected Renate Weller, RVC Professor of Comparative Imaging and Biomechanics, as Junior Vice President of the Association. This means she will become president of the Association next year. BEVA is the key membership organisation related to equine veterinary practice in the UK and also has many members around the world.

Roger Smith, Professor of Equine Orthopaedics, was recently selected to be a Fellow of the RCVS. He will receive his Fellowship later this month. RCVS Fellowships are awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession.

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