Knowledge Awards: Quality Improvement in Practice 2019

Dog with a trophy award

The first RCVS Knowledge Awards focusing on continuous quality improvement (QI) were awarded in 2019. Three individuals were crowned ‘Knowledge Champions’ and one veterinary team the ‘Champion Practice’.


Who was eligible for this award?

The award was open to anyone who works within a veterinary setting. We were particularly interested in applications from a practice setting including, but not limited to, those from the administration team, veterinary nurses, practice managers and surgeons at all levels.

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What was the award for?

The award showcased QI implementation in practice, and the individuals and teams that have driven improvement within the profession. Winners of the award have championed their outstanding examples of QI in practice, and have aimed to establish a more efficient and enjoyable practice environment for the veterinary community.

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Who were the 2019 Knowledge Award winners?

Three individuals were crowned ‘Knowledge Champions’ and one veterinary team was crowned the ‘Champion Practice’.

Louise Northway RVN

Louise NorthwayLouise, Clinical Nurse Lead, won for her dedication to continuously improving care by undertaking clinical audits; setting and reviewing protocols based on evidence; and instigating discussion and adoption of QI by the entire practice team.

Read Louise's case example here.

Alison Thomas BVSc CertSAM MRCVS

Alison ThomasAlison, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross, won for her project to deliver a consistent approach to diagnosis and treatment throughout the charity by developing guidelines for more than 60 common syndromes and conditions. The guidelines were based on the best available evidence and took into account ethical and quality of life (QOL) considerations. Their introduction coincided with significant cost savings for the charity, placing them on track to treat an additional 2,639 animals.

Read Alison's case example here.


Angela Rayner BVM&S MRCVS

Angela RaynerAngela, Clinical Services Manager at CVS Group plc, was recognised for her role in cementing an annual controlled drugs audit across the group’s practices. In just one year, CVS’s drug discrepancies for ketamine and methadone improved more than ten-fold and six-fold respectively, and improved still further the following year.

Read Angela's case example here.

Vets Now Macclesfield

Lesley MooreThe nursing team at Vets Now Macclesfield won the practice award for their work on improving general anaesthetic monitoring in an emergency setting. The introduction of a quarterly clinical audit and tailored training for nurses elevated the practice’s general anaesthesia and sedation monitoring to a comprehensive level of excellence, incorporating detailed notes and patient observations. As a result, the practice suffered zero patient deaths or significant events related to anaesthesia or sedation.

Read the team's case example here and access the template they used here.


Each winner received a £250 prize, an invitation to an awards ceremony at RCVS Day 2019 and recognition for their work.

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Highly commended runners up of the 2019 Knowledge Awards

Three practices and one individual were highly commended for their QI initiatives.

ChesterGates Veterinary Specialists

ChesterGates Veterinary Specialists established a QI initiative which set out to improve patient care, use of resources, productivity and theatre efficiency. The initiative has resulted in more consistent data recording and improved retrieval of data for audit purposes.

Optivet Referrals Ltd

Optivet Referrals Ltd developed a system for capturing the adverse events that arise in patients following anaesthesia.

Vets Now Referrals Glasgow

Vets Now Referrals Glasgow was highly commended for its clinical audit which assessed adherence to WHO hand washing guidelines.

Read this team's case example here.

Elisa Best BVSc CertSAS MRCVS

Elisa Best created a sealed emergency ‘BOAS box’ to be prepared for a BOAS patient in crisis. Each box contains a tracheostomy tube, an endotracheal tube, a pulse oximeter, a spay hook, a pre-drawn induction agent, post-BOAS treatment guidelines and a drug dosage list.

Read Elisa's case example here.

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Apply for the 2020 Knowledge Awards

The 2020 Knowledge Awards, focusing again on quality improvement in practice, are open from 12th July 2019 and will close on 29th November 2019.

As with the 2019 Awards, applicants will be able to apply themselves or on behalf of their team by submitting a case example of a QI initiative they have carried out. Alternatively, they can nominate a colleague for an award. Winners will receive a £250 prize, an invitation to an awards ceremony and recognition for their work. 

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Want to know more about QI?

If you would like to know more about QI, we have resources and courses available in the quality improvement section of our website. If you are new to QI, we have a three-minute video to introduce you to the subject.

We are constantly adding more resources to support you with your practice improvements. If you would like to stay up-to-date with new tools as they become available, please let us know.

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