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Meet the PSS assessors
Practice assessment visits are carried out around the country by our team of assessors. Find out more about our assessors and the requirements for becoming one.
On this page:
All of our assessors are either vet surgeons or vet nurses (RVNs). They must:
- have been members of the RCVS for at least five years,
- have been approved as having suitable experience for undertaking inspections.
Assessors are employees of the RCVS and undergo training before they can carry out assessments.
They’re expected to take part in ongoing training and assessment, including annual appraisal by the lead Assessor.
- Anne Lawson BVMS MRCVS
- Bob Lehner BVM&S PHD CertVR MRCVS
- Sally Stockton BVSc CertAVP MRCVS
- Charles Thursby-Pelham MA VetMB CertEP MRCVS
- Sophie Aylett BVSc MRCVS
- Lizzie Barker MRCVS
- Richard Byrne BVetMed MRCVS
- David Donovan BVSc MRCVS
- Susan Edwards BSc(Hons) BVMS MRCVS
- Victoria Fyfe RVN
- Victoria James BVetMed CertAVP MRCVS
- Renay Rickard RVN
- Emma Robinson BVM&S MRCVS
- Rudo Ruvangu BVSC(Hons) MRCVS
- Nick Stuart BVM&S MRCVS
- Bridget Taylor BVMS MRCVS
- David Kazemi BVSc MBA MRCVS
- Lindsay Hawkins RVN
- Samantha Thompson RVN Grad Dip VN CertVN ECC DET
- Jennifer Critchley BSc (Hons) RVN PGCE IQA
- Avice O'Connor MVB, CertAVP (EM), PgDip IAWEL, AFHEA, MRCVS
- Terry Oomerjee BVSc MRCVS
Alice spent her first 10 years in France, followed by a seven-year detour in the USA before she made the move across the pond, qualifying from the Royal Veterinary College in 2004.
Alice has worked in small animal practices in Hong Kong, London and Sussex in both the private and charity sector, but always with a special interest in surgery and diagnostic imaging. Alice developed a passion for management and business after taking the role of Senior Veterinary Surgeon for the PDSA Hospital in Brighton.
Alice has run her veterinary consultancy business for five years now. She has worked with a wide variety of businesses such as veterinary start-ups, tech companies and PR agencies.
Alice lives in Brighton with her husband Ross and their two boys and Margot, their rescue Staffie. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, staying fit and travelling.
Anne graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1994. She has worked in a variety of practices from rural to city centre, branch surgery, a veterinary hospital, mixed practice locations and charity work abroad. Recently, Anne held a Senior Vet position in a busy small animal practice managing both medical, surgical and acupuncture caseload, as well as developing a management and leadership role within the practice.
Anne is trained and experienced in Quality systems and auditing. In this role she has conducted International Standard certification audits in the UK and Europe. She also holds Health and Safety qualifications and is a Technical member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). As a quality, health and safety practitioner, she was a director of a business delivering management consultancy expertise to veterinary practices and to a diverse range of other industries.
A PSS assessor from the Scheme relaunch in 2015, Anne has recently been health and safety advisor to the scheme, involved in the latest revisions of the Standard and is also a member of the Review Group.
Anne is passionate about the Scheme and the benefits it brings to practice. Regularly amazed by the time and effort practices put into their assessments and their dedication to continual improvement, she is also heartened to see that PSS is now viewed as a positive enhancement to practice life rather than a tick box exercise. She is looking forward to seeing the scheme continue to grow and develop in coming years.
She is author of the BSAVA Manual of Veterinary Nursing “Principles of Health and Safety”, published in May 2020.
Anne is currently team lead in the development of an Aberdeen outreach for Street Vet.
Outside work Anne can be found outdoors, being defeated at games by her 11 year old son and husband, walking the family Labrador or riding one of her beloved horses.
Bob Lehner was born and brought up in Kenya. He came to the UK at the age of 19, to take up a place at the The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, intending to return to work in Africa, but somehow never made it back.
He graduated in 1974 but stayed on to take a PhD in parasite immunology. He then went into general practice, where he remained for the rest of his career.
He spent 25 years as a partner in a multi-vet hospital-based mixed practice in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.
Bob is very much an all-rounder, gaining experience over the years in many areas from farm animal, equine, small animal, commercial deer farming, some zoo work, external vet to major pharmaceutical company, LA and SA quarantine work, RCVS Riding Schools panel inspector, JMB panel etc.
In latter years he has mainly been involved with small animals and horses.
Having sold his partnership in 2005, he is now semi-retired, doing PSS assessments since 2006.
Bob is the author of Quicklook@vets, an e-book about the veterinary profession, aimed at the general public and, in particular, prospective veterinary students.
He currently lives on the North Devon coast, with his wife and a menagerie of creatures.
Sally qualified from Liverpool in 1985 and other than a short period in industry has worked in mainly small animal practice in the north of England, including shelter work and some locum work for a dedicated out-of-hours provider.
She currently runs a feline home visiting service for a local practice, originally setting it up as a standalone mobile practice in 2012. She found joining the Practice Standards Scheme invaluable to the setting up of a new venture and is keen that all practices, however small, be encouraged to join.
In addition to feline friendly practice Sally is interested in feline behaviour and care of the elderly cat, along with practice management, having recently completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Business Management with the University of Liverpool.
She lives on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and is married to a farm vet. She enjoys trying to be mother hen to their five grown up sons, reading, entertaining family and friends and walking their three dogs, in a never-ending attempt to keep fit.
Charles qualified from Cambridge in 1987. After a brief period in mixed practice, he worked as an equine vet for ten years and gained a Certificate of Equine Practice. He then returned to mixed practice before settling in small animal practice where he developed a special interest in veterinary dentistry.
Charles ran his own small animal practice for 14 years and during that time his practice was accredited three times as a Small Animal General Practice.
In 2014 he sold the practice to his assistant and it has continued to thrive as an independent. Since then, Charles has worked as a locum in many practices and he has continued to accept dental referrals.
Charles is married with three children. He enjoys riding, skiing, cycling and going for long walks with his Labrador, Pepper.
Sophie graduated from Liverpool in 2006 and immediately started work at the PDSA in Birmingham. Having learnt to quickly develop her consulting skills, she moved to a mixed two vet practice in rural Herefordshire. Deciding that mixed practice was where her interests lay, her next job was in a large practice in Shropshire where she was able to spend mornings consulting and operating, and afternoons out on farm or horse yards. A short stint of locum work all over the country gave Sophie the chance to work in several different types of practices, always with her Australian Shepherd dog, Bruce, in tow.
After four years in mixed practice, the opportunity arose to open her own practice on her husband’s arable farm. Since the area was already inundated with small animal and equine practices, Sophie decided to open a farm animal practice using the best of the practice management tools she had seen other practices use whilst being a locum. Although leaving mixed practice was a difficult decision, the chance to set up, own and run a busy farm animal practice has been very enjoyable and challenging.
Having been through the Practice Standards Scheme with her own practice, Sophie is passionate about promoting the Scheme to other vets. With her mixed practice background, she is happy to visit all types of practices that want to reach Core and General Practice Standards, and is keen to learn and share best practice protocols.
When not working, Sophie enjoys reading, walking with her husband and two dogs, and playing the piano. In the future, she is contemplating working towards a qualification in practice management.
Lizzie qualified with honours from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009. After a period working in a busy Small Animal Charity Hospital she moved into Equine Practice in Devon and then in the New Forest. Lizzie then gained a position as a House Vet at the Liphook Equine Hospital, Hampshire where she developed a special interest in anaesthesia, pain management and treatment of the sports horse.
Lizzie gained her CertAVP(VA) from the University of Liverpool in 2016 and subsequently became an FEI Official Veterinarian for Jumping in 2020. Alongside working as a locum vet, Lizzie is now the European Anaesthesia and Analgesia Manager at a Veterinary Pharmaceutical Company and enjoys utilising her veterinary skills with involvement in education, innovation and drug development.
Lizzie was keen to join the RCVS PSS team to be able to help veterinary teams who work so hard to provide high quality care to animals and their owners to be able to promote excellence to their clients and also to gain increased recognition for their efforts.
Lizzie is based in South Wales and enjoys walking her dog and jumping her young horse in show jumping competitions. She is very active, playing netball as well as enjoying running and yoga.
Richard graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 1988 and joined West Bar Veterinary Hospital, a mixed practice in Banbury, Oxfordshire where he is now a Partner, Director and Head of Companion Animal Care.
Most of his work involves first opinion small animal veterinary medicine and surgery with occasional visits to calving cows and sick sheep. He has spoken at conferences in the UK and abroad on issues as diverse as parasite control in small animal practice to clinical pathology of ratites and taken occasional forays into scientific publishing.
He has a keen interest in the use of and integration of information technology in general practice and has practical experience in computer programming, database and web technologies.
When not at work Richard enjoys music, playing both the keyboard and saxophone. He is involved with the local community. Richard enjoys and spending time with his grown up family.
David graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2012 and remained in his home city of Liverpool to start working as an assistant vet in a Vets4Pets small animal practice.
In November 2013, the opportunity arose to become a partner and open a new Vets4Pets practice. One of the first milestones the team wanted to achieve was to become an RCVS-accredited practice on the Practice Standards Scheme to provide a structure to maintain high standards of veterinary care. Since then the practice continued to grow and now has 18 colleagues.
In 2018, David completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Surgery and he is currently studying towards a Certificate in Veterinary Business Management. He spent two years as a member of the Vets4Pets Joint Venture Council, working with practice partners and the Vets4Pets Support Office to grow and progress the business.
When not working or studying, David likes to travel and spend his down time in sunnier climates!
Susan qualified from Glasgow Vet School in 1999 and proceeded to spend 5 years undertaking mixed practice in Herefordshire. In 2004 she took the step into small animal practice and progressed to clinical director of a clinic in Northamptonshire.
Following this, Susan became a locum veterinary surgeon gaining experience in a wide variety of clinics, then a technical advisor for a veterinary pharmaceutical company before settling into a role as a senior veterinary clinician within the charity sector.
Susan lives in Herefordshire, enjoys walking her springer spaniel, swimming and skiing.
Victoria started her nursing career in 2002 as a VCA at Prince Bishop’s a small animal hospital in County Durham. She went on to qualify and register in 2009.
Victoria continued to work at her local practice and obtained the role of head nurse, throughout this time she oversaw multiple RCVS practice standards scheme assessments.
Victoria’s practice was one of the first to trial and be assessed under the new Practice standards scheme and was the first practice to gain outstanding in all 6 PSS awards.
In 2018 Victoria moved into a central support role and now supports practices as they prepare for their Practice Standards Scheme assessment in her role as Practice Standards Manager for VetPartners.
In 2021 Victoria joined the RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisory Board.
Victoria has a passion to help practices strive for excellence and in doing so deliver the best possible care for patient, clients and the team.
In her spare time Victoria enjoys playing netball, baking sweet treats for the guys in practice and has as soft spot for sheep, you’ll find some rather round spoilt pet sheep at home.
Victoria graduated with honours from the RVC in 2008 and moved to the South East where she was lucky enough to spend 5 years in a busy 50:50 mixed practice. Not only was Victoria able to get to grips with routine dairy, beef and sheep work, she also got to treat a variety of more unusual species including camelids and exotics at a local zoo. A particular highlight for her was castrating a group crested macaque’s that were due to be re-homed to a new colony.
Deciding that small animal work was where her passion lay, Victoria moved to Culverden Veterinary Group in 2013 where she became the lead vet for their well-equipped branch surgery. She completed her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in 2015 and particularly enjoyed seeing internal medicine and oncology cases, as well as mentoring new and recent graduates within the practice.
In her spare time she volunteers for the Brighton branch of StreetVet (the first RCVS-registered practice to provide free vet care for homeless people) and captains her local netball team. She also likes to take full advantage of living on the South Downs, and being 5 minutes from the sea – and loves outdoor swimming, paddle boarding and walking her crazy whippet and lurcher!
After starting work in a mixed practice in mid-Cornwall as a YTS trainee Renay qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 1989 from Bicton College. Renay has worked within the same practice and worked her way up through being Head Nurse to practice manager, practice owner and now part of the director team. During that time, she has been responsible for the management of the Practice Standards scheme within the practice which is now based over six sites and employs around 120 team members.
Along with her RVN qualification Renay also holds the CVPM awarded by the VMG, has a level 7 extended Diploma in strategic leadership & management, and holds Chartered Manager status.
Renay was a board member of the VMG (previously VPMA) between 2016 and 2019 and was president of VMG in 2017 and 2018. During her time as a VMG board member, Renay was a representative on the Practice Standards working party that developed the new scheme including the new awards. Renay’s main responsibility was to work on the criteria that involved the “Team”. “We worked hard to ensure that the perception that the PSS was a “tick box” exercise would be changed across the industry, and that would be seen as a tool to ensure and improve the quality of care for all stakeholders” During this time she was also a member of the RCVS Schedule 3 working party and chair for the VN Futures career progression working party.
During her career Renay has been an internal verifier & lecturer for Duchy College where she currently holds a place on the Land Based Advisory Group as an employer representative.
Renay is currently the junior vice president of the Cornwall Veterinary Association – the first RVN to take up an officer position of which she is very proud.
Having taken her business through the Practice Standards Scheme across small animal, farm animal & equine, including some awards, Renay is keen to visit and support all types of practices, but particularly small animal practices. Her main interests are practice management, particularly strategic management & team development. Especially the development of RVNs and their role development within the team, both in clinical and non-clinical areas of the business.
In her free time, Renay enjoys walking with her three-legged Australian Shepherd X and is part way through a mission to complete the Cornish Coast path with two other veterinary colleagues. Renay also has a passion for live music and festivals. These pastimes are a great way for Renay to get some down time away from her busy working life!
After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1991 Emma Robinson worked in mixed practice in Wiltshire before focussing on companion animals. She continued to work as an assistant in small animal practices including spells in a referral hospital and the PDSA.
In 1997 she built and ran a new practice in Christchurch, Dorset, selling it as a thriving business in 2003 when she moved to Scotland. Over the last 17 years Emma has worked in many practices in North East Scotland, both as locum and full time assistant.
Throughout her veterinary career she has been passionate about teaching and enabling people in the profession to achieve their goals. In 2013-2017 she was a lecturer of Veterinary Nursing and Animal Care at North East Scotland College.
Outside of work Emma loves to spend time with her family and two rescue dogs walking in the glorious Aberdeenshire countryside.
Emma has joined the Practice Standards Scheme because she wants to help practices achieve the accreditation and support them in showing their clients just how good they are.
Rudo graduated from the University of Zimbabwe and worked in mixed practice there before attaining her MRCVS by examination in 2002. She moved to the UK and worked in a variety of independent, corporate and charity small animal practices in England and Scotland.
Rudo's keen interest in animal welfare and behaviour led her to work as a lead shelter veterinarian at a large animal charity in Cambridgeshire for many years, attaining her Post-Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine from the University of Florida in 2016. She continued on to work part-time as an online tutor on the UF Shelter Medicine Programme and has also worked in the research/laboratory sector. Recently, Rudo held an Interim Clinical Director position in a small busy animal practice in London, providing clinical and operational leadership during a period of transition.
Alongside being a PSS Assessor, Rudo works part time as a central-support Medical Quality Manager for Linnaeus. In both these roles she lends her experience to helping and supporting veterinary practices to drive forward the clinical quality improvement agenda, which ultimately benefits animal welfare and positively impacts the professional wellbeing of the practice team. Rudo also continues occasional work as a locum in small animal practice.
Outside of work Rudo enjoys tending her allotment, spending time with her family and has recently taken up karate.
Nick Stuart qualified from Edinburgh University in 1981. His first position was as an assistant in a mixed animal practice in Gloucestershire.
He then moved to Aberdeenshire as the dedicated vet for a very large farming company, creating and managing herd health programmes for 6,000 breeding sows and 2,500 dairy cattle. This interest in pigs led to Nick joining a specialist pig practice, during which time, he travelled to the Philippines to research the viability of a Filipino National Swine Artificial Insemination Centre.
This interest in AI and embryo transfer led to work in the emerging cashmere and angora goat industry and for a number of pedigree sheep breeders; work that took Nick to New Zealand and Germany as well as all over the UK from Devon to the Shetland Isles.
In 1989 Nick purchased a two man mixed practice in Dursley, South Gloucestershire. He merged with a neighbouring practice to form Vale Vets. Today, Vale Vets and Vale Referrals are a solely small animal practice, operating out of two RCVS-accredited Veterinary Hospitals, one in Dursley, the other in Portishead.
Vale Referrals has specialisms in cardiology, medicine, soft tissue surgery, oncology, ophthalmology and orthopaedics with a separate business offering vet led rehabilitation, pain management and hydrotherapy.
Nick’s outside interests include sailing, walking and cycling.
Bridget qualified from the Royal Dick Veterinary College, Edinburgh University, in 1984 and after 5 nomadic years comprising a research project in Botswana, a year as a demonstrator in large animal medicine at Edinburgh and working locum, UK wide and in New Zealand, she joined the Wright and Morten Veterinary Practice in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
She remained at Wright and Morten until August 2021, joining the partnership team in 2001. The practice expanded to form three separate departments- farm animal, equine and small animal -each with its own manpower team and premises. By 2013 Bridget was one of 2 partners in the farm team, having undertaken two terms as managing partner for the whole practice. The practice now employs 27 FTE vets, and has been purchased by IVC Evidensia.
The practice engaged early on with the Investors in People Standard and Veterinary Hospital recognition scheme and subsequently gained accreditation for all its departments/ premises under the Practice Standards Scheme. Bridget’s particular passions in her leadership role were to support, develop and empower team members, encouraging collaboration and sharing of ideas within the team and between practices. She feels that becoming a PSS assessor is a natural progression from her practice role.
Bridget was a director of XLVet UK 2013-18 and chairman of the XLFarmcare North Veterinary Delivery Partnership 2013-2021. She is a member of the BCVA board and the Moredun Foundation board. Her 2 children are now at university, freeing up more time for road biking, travel, and folk music.
David Kazemi is small animal vet, quality consultant and board member for a UK not for profit. Before this, he helped thousands of practices across UK and Europe with digital workflow solutions whilst leading a popular practice management system at IDEXX. He’s experienced in how clinics run, having been an Operations Director in a previous life and clinical leader in PDSA. He now keeps his hand in clinical practice via locum work both in the UK and aboard.
David holds a BVSc, an MBA (Masters In Business Administration) and has done lots of training in project management and quality improvements. When it comes to learning, he can’t sit still - and is currently studying ‘Quality of Healthcare’ as part of a masters programme.
David believes taking part in the PSS is a great way for clinics to keep staff engaged, clients happy, business healthy and patients safe. As an assessor he aims to be objective, honest and fair and work collaboratively with clinics to help them get the most out of the scheme.
To relax, David runs, cooks pizza, raids second hand stores, practices Dutch and spends time with his partner Andrew, in the Lake District, dreaming of having a guinea pig sanctuary.
Although born in the U.K, Lindsay grew up in the United States. Her veterinary career began in 1997 in Houston, Texas, when she started working in an Animal Clinic at the weekends and during school holidays. On her return to the U.K. in 2001, and after a brief spell in banking, she began her veterinary nursing training and qualified as an RVN in 2006.
Lindsay has worked in the same 7-site Small Animal Veterinary Hospital in Bristol for over 17 years, where she has had several roles, including clinical coach, Deputy Head Nurse, Head Nurse, and now works as the Deputy Practice Manager three days a week. Her current role in practice involves preparing each site for PSS assessments (which is her favourite part of the job!), H&S management, clinical management and various other HR related duties.
Having been involved in many PSS assessments over her years in practice, Lindsay knows what it’s like to be on the ‘other side’ and joined the assessment team to help practices improve clinical standards and work towards best practice via the PSS. She really enjoys supporting other veterinary teams, who work so hard to provide exceptional veterinary care in increasingly tricky circumstances and who deserve recognition for their efforts. Her main interests lie in feline friendly nursing, clinical governance and medicines regulations.
When not at work, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her two boys (who are often on the tennis court and football pitch!) and her husband, as well as a 14-month old Border Collie and a ginger and white DSH, who rules the roost. She loves travelling and experiencing new cultures, both near and far, although her most favourite trip would be spent walking on the west coast of Scotland with her boys.
Sam currently works as a Post Registration Programme (PRP) Manager for Linnaeus. This involves delivering teaching materials and supporting the nurses on the PRP with their quality improvement projects. She sits on the Mars Patient Safety Team, providing presence in this area. With a keen interest in patient safety and quality improvement, Sam has been runner up the RCVS Knowledge awards.
Prior to the role as a PRP manager, Sam spent over 10 years working in referral hospitals, predominantly at NDSR, where she was heavily involved in the PSS assessment and the associated awards. In her last role at NDSR, where she was clinical services manager, Sam oversaw the induction of all new joiners and has a passion for training and teaching.
In her spare time, Sam runs the platform Evolution VN that aims to cheerlead, inspire, and educate VNs and has a keen interest in coaching and mentoring. Currently she is studying for a coaching qualification, having certified as a RECOVER Instructor in June 2022.
Jen graduated with honours from the Royal Veterinary College and Middlesex University. She then spent time working and gaining valuable experience within various roles in small animal practice, encompassing both the private and charity sector.
Jen then moved into Veterinary Education and gained her PGCE. Whilst working for a Veterinary College, she developed a passion for supporting career development and professional qualification through education.
Whilst working with a large multi-site practice in London, Jen also developed a special interest quality assurance and achieved her IQA qualification.
A passionate advocate for the profession, Jen takes great personal satisfaction in supporting veterinary professionals to realise their potential.
Jen lives in South East London with her family and two Jack Russells. Outside work she enjoys horticulture and rescuing old pieces furniture. She can often be found either on her allotment or scouring second hand shops for "treasures".
Avice graduated from University College Dublin in 2001. Following an internship and several years in practice in the UK, Avice joined the University of Cambridge as a clinician in the Equine first opinion practice.
Avice's main clinical interests lie in Equine Dentistry and Animal Welfare. She enjoys teaching the next generation of veterinary students and is currently studying towards a qualification in Veterinary Education.
Avice first became interested in the Practice Standards Scheme when preparing for assessment at the University of Cambridge and is delighted to join the PSS assessor team.
Having worked in the UK motor industry for nearly 3 years, Terry decided a change of direction was needed. He graduated from The University of Sydney in 2003, returning to the UK to take up a mixed practice role in West Sussex.
Mixed practice allowed exposure to many sides of veterinary life and it was here that Terry first became aware of the benefits of the Practice Standards Scheme. Overcoming some initial inertia in the practice, he guided them to PSS accreditation.
After 12 years here, it was time to move on. Terry moved to Qatar to work in a small animal clinic in Doha for 5 years. Having a senior role and experience of PSS, changes were made under the guidance of the PSS to bring improvements to reflect RCVS standards.
Moving back to the UK at the very moment the country was entering its 1st Covid lockdown provided challenges. He locumed in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire before joining the PSS Assessor Team, whilst still being clinical.
He very much enjoys meeting new veterinary teams during PSS assessments, whilst bearing in mind that the assessment is not about fault finding, but highlighting what practices do well and discovering what they can change to improve even further.
When not at work Terry enjoys spending time with family, running, reading and travel.