RCVS News: RCVS introduces landmark sustainability project with veterinary stakeholder workshop

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has marked the initiation of its Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) sustainability project with an introductory workshop, which took place on Monday 18 October 2021.

The workshop was attended by RCVS Committee members, RCVS Senior Team members, Practice Standards Group (PSG) representatives on behalf of the major UK veterinary organisations, veterinary practices and veterinary practice organisations, including the Major Employer’s Group (MEG) and Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices (FIVP), and PSS Assessors.

The PSS sustainability project has come to life following a recommendation from the RCVS Environment and Sustainability Working Party, which was set up in November 2020 to develop internal and external sustainability policies for the College. After extensive research and discussion, the Working Party proposed that the most suitable route for helping the profession to implement sustainability policies was through the PSS accreditation process. Currently, over two-thirds of UK practices are signed up to the PSS, which provides a unique opportunity to have a wide-reaching impact on the overall sustainability of the profession.

As part of the sustainability project, the RCVS has appointed the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), a consultancy that specialises in embedding sustainability within clinical practice, who will support the College to undertake this work. The Practice Standards Group (PSG), the steering group responsible for setting and reviewing the scheme’s standards, will also be working with CSH to help decide upon the new sustainability requirements and then support accredited practices to incorporate them into their work.

Rachel Stancliffe, CSH Director, said “CSH are excited to have been chosen to work with the RCVS on integrating sustainability into veterinary practice. We are looking forward to working closely with the veterinary professions to share some of our learning and resources from supporting sustainability in human healthcare for the past 13 years.”

Dr Sue Paterson, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Working Party, said: “Developing policies and standards that encourage sustainability across the profession is an incredibly important part of the College’s work. From our discussions with the profession, we know that many members of the veterinary workforce are keen to implement sustainable measures in their practices, but are unsure what processes to undertake to become more sustainable. We hope this project will help veterinary practices to manage their environmental impact in a way that is both manageable but extremely effective.”

Dr Mandisa Greene, Chair of the Practice Standards Group, said: “This week’s initial workshop with veterinary stakeholders and project partners was a key milestone in the project’s timeline, as we laid out what we want this project to achieve, and discussed with veterinary stakeholders what sustainability within PSS could look like and how we can collaborate with them to help progress this work. We will provide regular communications and updates about the development and timelines of the project as it progresses.”

You can find out more about the RCVS Environment and Sustainability Working Party on the RCVS website https://www.rcvs.org.uk/news-and-views/policy/environment-and-sustainability-working-party/

You can find out more about the Practice Standards Scheme on the PSS section of the RCVS website https://www.rcvs.org.uk/setting-standards/practice-standards-scheme/

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