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Welcome to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

About the Practice Standards Scheme

What is the Practice Standards Scheme?

The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices in the UK.

Through setting standards and carrying out regular inspections, the Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care.

The accreditations available within the scheme are:


Core Standards

These standards are relevant to all veterinary practices and reflect mainly legal requirements which must be met in running a veterinary practice, together with guidance as set out in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.

Every practice premises within the Scheme must meet Core Standards for all species treated.


General Practice

The following categories are recognised:

  • Small Animal
  • Equine
  • Farm Animal
  • Small Animal Emergency Service Clinic

For Small Animal and Equine practices the standards reflect the requirements of a primary care practice which also aims to facilitate the achievement of high standards of clinical care, and encompass many of the facilities required for veterinary nurse training standards

For Farm Animal practices, the standards reflect both the requirements of a primary care practice which promotes the achievement of high standards of clinical care, and also a proactive approach to management, through the use of health planning, client training and communication.

For Small Animal Emergency Service Clinics, the standards reflect the requirements of a designated out-of-hours provider. A Small Animal Emergency Service Clinic must fulfil the requirements for a Small Animal General Practice and the additional requirements set out in Section 10 of the PSS Manual.

A General Practice must meet all the Core Standards as well as additional General Practice Standards.


Veterinary Hospital 

The following categories are recognised:

  • Small Animal
  • Equine

For Small Animal and Equine Veterinary Hospitals, the standards reflect the requirements of a General Practice allied with additional facilities and protocols for the investigation and treatment of more complex cases. A Veterinary Hospital must meet all Core Standards and General Practice Standards in addition to specific Hospital Standards

Different premises within a practice may apply for different categories of accreditation (eg a main practice could be a Small Animal Veterinary Hospital ; with its branch an Equine General Practice) Also one premises may apply for multiple accreditation (eg. As an Equine Veterinary Hospital & a Small Animal General Practice.)



Some of the benefits of joining the Practice Standards Scheme

  • Receipt of guidance and support to meet the requirements e.g. advice and assistance with compliance on Veterinary Medicine Regulation.
  • Scheme Membership is recognised by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Practice premises under the ambit of the Practice Standards Scheme are not subject to routine inspection from the VMD as the Scheme's standards meet the VMD inspection criteria. The annual Practice Standards Scheme fee for accredited practice premises includes the annual Register of Veterinary Practice Premises fee.
  • Encourages communication and team work amongst staff at the practice.
  • Focuses staff on aspects of running a veterinary practice which can sometimes be overlooked due to the busy nature of the profession.
  • Accreditation boosts public awareness of the need to choose a veterinary practice carefully.
  • Scheme members are authorised to use a brand, advertising to members of the public as an accredited practice-logos, signage, certificates, plaques etc.
  • Advertised as accredited on the RCVS Find a Vet service.
  • Scheme membership can serve as a marketing tool for the practice.
  • Free e-newsletter 'The Practice Standard' provides information and guidance about changes to the Practice Standards requirement and tips for inspection.



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