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Categories of accreditation

There are many different types of veterinary practice. Some, such as veterinary hospitals, offer a very broad range of services. Others concentrate on a particular species or discipline. Some are general practices, others may just offer vaccinations and worming, or minor surgery.

Under the Scheme, a practice can be accredited as follows:  

  • RCVS Core Standards 
    These standards apply to all types of accredited practice and signify compliance with legal and health and safety requirements.

Look for the RCVS accredited practice logo in your practice to see which type of accreditation it has.

RCVS Core Standards

These Standards apply to all types of accredited practices. To be accredited to Core Standards, a veterinary practice must, among other things:

  • 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)
  • Have appropriately trained staff for work undertaken (veterinary qualifications and insurance are checked)
  • Comply with minimum standards of cleanliness and hygiene
  • Make clients aware of arrangements for checking and monitoring patients kept in overnight
  • 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
  • Have an effective policy for communication with clients

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RCVS General Practice - species/discipline specific

These practices may be accredited for small animals, farm animals or equine patients, or as a combination of these.

To be accredited as an RCVS General Practice, a veterinary practice must satisfy the Core Standards, plus, amongst other things, must:

  • Have a system for monitoring the outcome of treatments
  • Show ongoing commitment to education and training of staff
  • Keep premises clean and well maintained
  • Have a policy for communicating with clients and looking at feedback
  • Have access to laboratory facilities for diagnostic testing

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RCVS Small Animal Emergency Services Clinic

Small Animal Emergency Service Clinics must meet the Core and GP requirements in all modules and the ESC requirements in the Emergency and Critical Care Module.

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RCVS Equine General Practice - Ambulatory

Equine General Practice – Ambulatory practices must meet the Core and GP requirements in all modules except In-Patients. It recognises there are equine practices that provide a GP level service (see above), albeit that they do not have stabling facilities or premises where horses are treated.

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RCVS Veterinary Hospital

To be accredited as a hospital - for either small animals or equine patients - a veterinary practice must meet Core Standards, plus those of the relevant General Practice. In addition it must, among other things:

  • Ensure nursing staff are present on the premises round the clock, and a veterinary surgeon available 24 hours a day to attend to in-patients, if required
  • Maintain and improve clinical standards by monitoring performance and the outcome of treatments 
  • Provide a range of specialist equipment, such as specific diagnostic equipment (ECG and ultrasound)
  • Submit to rigorous examination of its premises and facilities, with emphasis on cleanliness and sterility

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Further information

More information about the PSS, including full details for veterinary practices, and the PSS Modules, is available on the main RCVS website. (Please note that this link will open in a new window.)

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