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Practice Standards Scheme

UK veterinary practices are accredited through the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS).

In this section, you can find out more about the PSS and get help with each step of the assessment process. 

Read about the latest changes to the Practice Standards Scheme.

On this page:

About the Practice Standards Scheme

The Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is an initiative to accredit UK veterinary practices. The aim of the PSS is to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care.

Membership of the PSS is voluntary, and around 69% of eligible UK practices are part of it. These practices are also known as RCVS-accredited practices.

There are different levels of accreditation a practice premises can apply for, depending on the type of premises, services offered and species treated. Practices can also apply for awards in areas where they excel.

The Practice Standards Scheme operates in accordance with the PSS Rules

Veterinary Practice Premises and the law

All veterinary practice premises in the UK have to comply with the law to operate.

In order to supply medicines, all practice premises must be registered. We hold this Register on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Practices are inspected by the VMD every four years, but those that are part of the PSS are exempt. This is because the PSS assessment process includes a medicines module, which meets VMD requirements.

More about VMD medicines inspection (opens in new window)

How practices become part of the PSS

  • The practice decides which accreditation is right for them.
  • The practice goes to Stanley to apply. Stanley is our online system that practices use to manage all steps of their accreditation.
  • One of our assessors visits the practice to carry out an assessment
  • After all fees are paid, the practice gets their accreditation and certificate. We update Find a Vet to reflect the practice’s change in status.
  • The practice is assessed every four years and periodically spot checked.
  • Lots of practices also apply for awards, which showcase the areas where they excel. This is a separate assessment process.

See our pages on applying to the PSS and PSS assessment for a more detailed breakdown of each process. 

Why join the Practice Standards Scheme? 

Practices tell us that they like being part of the PSS for several reasons:

  • It offers teams a useful framework for running their practice.
  • It’s an opportunity for practices to have a full clinical and regulatory compliance audit.
  • It’s a chance for practice teams to work together on improvement strategies.
  • It helps to focus practices' plans for the next four years.
  • It’s an opportunity for practice teams to be proud of their work and to showcase it.
  • It’s a stamp of professional quality, which can help with recruitment and retention of staff.

Video: How the PSS could benefit your practice 

Who runs the Practice Standards Scheme? 

The PSS is run by veterinary professionals, for the profession.

  • The Practice Standards Group (PSG) sets and reviews the Scheme's standards, rules and inspection protocol.
  • The Standards Committee approves decisions made by the Practice Standards Group.
  • Our team of PSS assessors carries out inspections across the UK.
  • The Review Group - made up of PSS assessors - is responsible for interpreting the Standards and resolving issues in the assessment process.
  • The PSS team are responsible for the day-to-day running of the PSS and answering practices' questions.

Contact the PSS team 

If you have a question about the Practice Standards Scheme that isn't covered in this section, our team would be happy to help.

You can reach them at [email protected] or on 020 7202 0767. 

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