I wrote a couple of weeks ago about preparations for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Practice Standards Scheme Inspection. This is a voluntary scheme of accreditation which Veterinary Practices can choose to enrol on. It gives members of the public reassurance as to the quality of a Veterinary Practice.
A lot of work has gone into preparing for the inspection. Having 4 surgeries, all of which were to be inspected at the same time, meant collecting vast volumes of paperwork and certification from each surgery to demonstrate to the inspectors.
Last week we were inspected by the Practice Standards Inspector.
On Monday morning, he arrived promptly at 9am and we headed into the office for a morning of paperwork reviewing. The scheme is broken down into 10 sections, each with 10 to 15 subsections. We worked methodically through the list, while the Inspector’s list of tick boxes were gradually filled. The Inspector wanted to see evidence of everything from health and safety risk assessments, employment contracts and staff induction training, to medicines dispensing policies, biosecurity policies and X-ray use policy. We demonstrated written policies which have been prepared to guide Receptionists when dealing with the public, Nurses when monitoring, recording and treating inpatients and Vets when selecting the most appropriate medicine following the Prescribing Cascade.
We did feel as though we were very prepared for the inspection but at the end of the morning, when the Inspector described the organisation of our paperwork as “fantastic”, we did breathe a sigh of relief.
Monday afternoon involved a physical inspection of Maple Street and Birchencliffe Surgeries where the inspector reviewed the quality of the premises and equipment. At the end of the day, the Inspector declared that he was happy that he had seen all that he needed.
The second half of the inspection took place on Friday with inspections of the premises at our Mirfield and Thongsbridge surgeries. Since the inspection on Monday had gone well and we have very similar levels of equipment and facilities at each surgery, we were confident that the second phase of the inspection would go well.
Sure enough, by lunch time, the inspection was complete. We will have to wait several weeks for the formal notification but we are confident that we will achieved accreditation.
Running a modern Veterinary practice can be quite a complex process. At Donaldson’s vets we have 4 fully functioning surgeries as well as the Farm and Equine divisions. Balancing the work rota to ensure that each surgery has the appropriate number of Vets, Receptionists and Nurses can be a difficult process and that job falls to our Practice Manager Lisa Jessop , and the rest of our management team at the Maple Street surgery.
The workload for Lisa and her team has increased significantly of late, as we are currently preparing for a ‘Practice Standards’ Inspection.
The Practice Standards Scheme is run by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. It is a voluntary scheme of accreditation which is designed to re-assure animal owners of the quality of the participating practice. Practice Standards is to Vets what an OFSTED inspection is to schools.
The scope of the inspection is very wide ranging, and includes assessing the quality of the premises, facilities and equipment, the level of training and qualifications of the Veterinary, Reception and Nursing staff and the level of emergency services we provide overnight and at weekends. The Practice protocols on aspects of work including infection control, clinical governance, neutering, vaccination, medicines dispensing, clinical waste disposal and use of X-rays are all examined. Health and Safety policies and Risk Assessments are examined alongside safety data for each individual medicine and hazardous substance stocked and used within the Practice. Servicing records are checked for everything from fire extinguishers and central heating boilers to instrument sterilisers and X ray machines.
Our inspection is scheduled for the end of June and we are to be inspected by Mr Harvey Lock, the retired President of the British Veterinary Association.
The requirements for a modern first class Veterinary Practice are a far cry from the “James Herriot” days! The additional workload in pulling all the information together for each of the surgeries in preparation for inspection day can seem daunting but the assurance that our clients will receive from achieving accreditation will make all Lisa’s efforts worthwhile.