Your neutering data needed to set national benchmark

RCVS Knowledge’s National Audit for Small Animal Neutering relies on practices to submit their neutering data to establish the nation’s neutering benchmark.

RCVS Knowledge has called for all veterinary teams performing neutering in dogs, cats, and rabbits to submit their data to the National Audit for Small Animal Neutering (NASAN) on the vetAUDIT website before the 15th of October. The NASAN is an audit for practices to share their data anonymously, to establish UK benchmarks in post-operative complications rates for small animal neutering.

Each year, RCVS Knowledge releases the national routine neutering benchmark to enable veterinary teams to compare their figures against the national average and use this data as part of a benchmarking exercise towards continuous improvements for neutering outcomes. In 2020, 72% of neuters were complication-free, 13% lost to follow, and 15% of animals suffered an abnormality related to the operation, mostly requiring medical treatment.

The COVID-19 pandemic, increases in workload, and staff shortages have caused extreme pressure for veterinary teams. One knock-on effect has been that data submitted to NASAN in 2020 was lower than expected. Although the number of neuters did decrease at the beginning of lockdown, many practices likely have data they have not submitted yet, for both 2020 and 2021. It is important to collect as much data as possible to maintain a realistic view of current benchmarks and how they are changing over time.

RCVS Knowledge is requesting that practices submit their data for 2020 and 2021 by the 15th of October. These anonymised data may already be available via the practice’s PMS and can be added to RCVS Knowledge’s simple spreadsheet. Practices can use the results to carry out their own audits and produce internal benchmarks, guidelines and checklists to help monitor their progress and help reduce complication rates by using RCVS Knowledge’s free Quality Improvement resources. The yearly benchmarks are reported in November each year.

Chris Gush, Executive Director of RCVS Knowledge, said, “Data submitted to the NASAN last year, and so far this year, has been lower than expected – likely due to the strain put on the professions by the pandemic. We believe many practices have neutering data that they have not been able to submit yet. We would be grateful for any unsubmitted neutering data for 2020 and 2021 to be sent to the NASAN, when practices are able, so that it can contribute to the national picture and allow us to gain the most accurate representation of the benchmarks for neutering in the UK.”

Lou Northway, RCVS Knowledge’s Quality Improvement Clinical Lead (RVN), who has used the NASAN data for audits within her practice, says “I would highly encourage veterinary practices to submit their neutering data to the NASAN. Not only is the national benchmark a useful tool to compare your own practice’s results against, but it allows us to look at how we are doing and update our systems to help improve the care we provide to our patients.”

Submit your data from 2020 and 2021 before the 15th of October on the vetAUDIT website:

RCVS Knowledge has created a ‘How to guide’ for using the NASAN, which can be watched on YouTube:

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