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What is the Practice Standards Scheme?

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Overseen by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is in place to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care through the setting of standards and regular assessments. It is a voluntary initiative in place to accredit veterinary practices in the UK.

RCVS Practice Standards Scheme

As part of the Practice Standards Scheme, small animal veterinary practices can be accredited at one of the following levels:

  • core standards
  • general practice
  • emergency services clinic
  • veterinary hospital

Within these standards, there are also additional awards that a practice can apply for to showcase the areas in which they excel.

The following awards are available:

  • team and professional responsibility
    client service
  • patient consultation service
  • diagnostic service
  • in-patient service
  • emergency and critical care service

Here at Gower Veterinary Surgery we are RCVS accredited for general practice.

How does it work?

Once a veterinary practice has applied to the scheme, they will undergo an initial assessment, where they will be visited by PSS assessors who are experienced veterinary professionals. They review different areas of the practice such as documentation, facilities, and equipment. They may talk with practice team members, often testing their knowledge as well as talking with clients and observing consultations (with prior permission).

Following the visit, a report is sent to the practice summarising the findings and any advisory actions required. On completion of any actions the practice is awarded the relevant accreditation.

After the initial assessment, practices will be assessed every four years, however, spot check assessments may occur within that period.

What are the benefits of joining the scheme?

As well as ensuring that practices operate to the highest standards within the profession and reassuring clients of the quality of the practice. Being part of the PSS can provide a useful framework in areas such as:

  • patient and client protocols
  • health and safety
  • medicines management
  • new staff recruitment and inductions
  • staff mental health and wellbeing
  • clinical governance and auditing

Gower Veterinary Surgery ensures that following these guidelines and assessments we can help pets live happier and healthier lives.

You can find out more about the Practice Standards Scheme by visiting