This brief history of veterinary hospitals in the United Kingdom is intended to place on
record the improvement in construction and design of veterinary premises, and the
equipment and services provided, following the Second World War.
VETERINARY HOSPITALS ~ IN THE BEGINNING
In the 1920’s and 30’s veterinary premises in the USA were becoming more
sophisticated. More premises were purpose built and provided facilities for in-patients. It was felt that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) was not providing the full range of services required by small animal practitioner. In 1933 the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) was formed to fulfil this demand. The newly formed AAHA established standards for both veterinary premises and veterinary practise.
A hospital evaluation programme was instituted. By 1973 the organisation had grown to
a membership of 4000 veterinary surgeons and 850 premises. Its annual congress had
become the world’s largest conference for small animal veterinary surgeons.
In the United Kingdom in the 1960’s the economy was growing and there was more
disposable income available for veterinary services. In March 1966 the Preliminary
Investigation and Advisory Committee (PI & A Committee) of the Royal College of
Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) presented its report to College Council. The report stated
that “According to Article 18 of the Guide to Professional Conduct the descriptions
‘Veterinary Establishment’, ‘Veterinary Hospital’, ‘Veterinary Clinic’, ‘Animal Hospital’ or any similar words should not be used as part of a professional address”. In the report was a suggestion that owing to the number of requests received from veterinary surgeons to use the designation ‘Hospital’ in connection with their professional premises, a member of Council should be asked to inspect the premises on the receipt of each request. A report of the findings should be made to the PI & A Committee. The Committee should be left to decide, on the merits of each case, whether permission should be given for the use of the title ‘Hospital’.
In his presidential address to the British Small Animal Veterinary Association annual
congress on 2 April 1966 Mr M. Young stated “The next few years will see the
establishment of more and more veterinary hospitals similar to those seen in cities and
towns in the United States.”
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