With an average score of 20 out of 25, vets taking part in a recent online quiz showed a high level of knowledge of their Guide to Professional Conduct, but there remain areas for improvement, according to results released by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

With an average score of 20 out of 25, vets taking part in a recent online quiz showed a high level of knowledge of their Guide to Professional Conduct, but there remain areas for improvement, according to results released by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

RCVS quiz results Around 850 people have completed the online guide quiz since it was launched last November, with veterinary surgeons accounting for 70% of those taking part.

RCVS head of communications Lizzie Lockett said: “We hoped the quiz would offer a light-hearted way for vets – and others – to review their knowledge of the guide, which can be a dry read, and have been pleased with the response.

“We were also keen to assess, via the gathering of aggregated (and anonymous) data, if there were any ‘black holes’ in members’ knowledge of the guide, which we needed to address.”

Despite the generally high positive scores, several questions were answered correctly by less than 75% of people. The worst answered question related to the role of the RCVS: 76% of people wrongly thought that the college’s remit included negligence, whilst 66% believed that the RCVS could not consider criminal convictions (it can).

RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2010Nearly half of those taking part were not aware that the standard of proof to which the RCVS Disciplinary Committee must be satisfied is “so as to be sure” – the same as for a criminal court.

Other questions poorly answered related to 24-hour cover, delegation to paraprofessionals, consent and ownership of records. The RCVS Communications Board will consider how to improve communications in these areas.

In terms of age, the highest scoring age-band was 51-60, achieving an average of 20.5 right answers; the lowest was “30 or under” at 18.7.  However, this is not backed up by distribution of complaints to the RCVS, where only 27% of complaints relate to those who have less than ten years’ post-qualification experience, although this group makes up 43% of registrations.

According to the college, the results indicate that there is no significant difference between the genders in terms of guide knowledge, at 19.54 right answers for men and 19.46 for women. Meanwhile, only 34% of complaints to the RCVS are made about women, while they account for 51% of the register. However, as women tend to dominate the younger end of the profession, this statistic may be linked to the fact that a greater percentage of complaints relate to older individuals, more likely to be men.

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