If you are a Registered Veterinary Surgeon or Registered Veterinary Nurse, this is relevant to you.
Since the launch of the Practice Standards Scheme in 2005, there has been a requirement for practice teams to have systems to monitor and discuss the clinical outcome of cases.
This can be by
- holding regular team clinical discussion meetings
- sharing information from CPD courses
- establishing clinical guidelines
- discussing cases which did not proceed as planned (for example where the patient died, or where the outcome was either poor or unexpectedly good)
- clinical audit (for example monitoring of post-surgical infection)
Practices are required to implement the lessons learned into everyday practice and therefore take active steps towards improving clinical effectiveness of treatments and procedures. This is all part of Clinical Governance.
In 2012 the Guide to Professional Conduct was updated to become the Code of Professional Conduct. The Codes for Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Nurses now include the requirement that clinical governance should form part of their professional activities.
Clinical governance is described in the Code as "a continuing process of reflection, analysis and improvement in professional practice for the benefit of the animal patient and the client owner”. The supporting guidance to the Code suggests that the main areas covered in clinical governance are animal safety, clinical effectiveness and patient and client experience.
Clinical effectiveness measures to what extent a particular procedure achieves the desired outcome. Practices wanting to be clinically effective need to have access to the best available knowledge in order to discuss procedures and draw up practice protocols etc.
Where to find this “best available knowledge” is the problem for vets in practice.
Monitoring the clinical effectiveness of the practice is a way that veterinary surgeons can promote good clinical care. Improving standards of clinical care in practice is a universal aim.
“In the past, clinical governance might have been seen as just for those in the Practice Standards Scheme. Its importance is now demonstrated by its inclusion in the Code and this symposium is a welcome move in developing this area further for the future.”
says Eleanor Ferguson, Acting Head of Professional Conduct and Practice Standards Scheme Manager at the RCVS.