The Royal College has taken lessons form the school inspections agency of Ofsted in planning the next phase of the practice standards scheme.
To make sure the animal-owning public understands the purpose of the scheme and the position each practice holds within it, the RCVS will be using the same terminology used by Ofsted inspectors in grading a schools educational provision.
RCVS past-president Jacqui Molyneux gave an update on the thinking of the colleges practice standards group at the recent SPVS-VPMA congress in Newport.
She said the group now felt that the original idea to separate PSS practices into bronze, silver and gold level categories would be confusing for the public. So the scheme is to retain the current system of the core, general and hospital level practices and create new awards for the quality of the service provided in different fields, such as customer service, surgery, diagnostic investigations, etc.
The new modular award scheme will use nomenclature already familiar to parents when choosing a school for their children. “I was driving in Wales and saw a large banner outside a school saying, ” we are good and are aiming towards being outstanding”. That is exactly what we want our practices to be able to say”, she said.
The new system will take account of the different services and clinical outcomes expected from small animal, farm and equine clinics and provide a powerful marketing tool for those premises approved by the inspectors.
Mrs Molyneux said the overall shape for the revised scheme, due to be launched in November, had been agreed by representatives of the main veterinary organisations which make up the group.
In the meantime, the RCVS will be consulting with its membership on the fine details such as the weighting to be given to different activities that will be scored for each module.