CVS data driven approach reduces use of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics by 20% in 12 months

16th June 2023

Continuous improvements outlined in group’s new annual Quality Improvement Report 2022.

CVS practices have reduced the number of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HCPIA) they prescribe by 20% last year.

The group’s continuous improvement in antimicrobial stewardship and promoting the appropriate use of HPCIAs is outlined in its new Quality Improvement Report 2022.

Reducing misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is an important area for continuous improvement in the battle against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), to reduce the development of drug resistant pathogens. The inappropriate disposal of antimicrobials also risks environmental contamination, which can contribute to AMR.

To grow a culture of continuous improvement, CVS’ approach was to focus on HPCIAs, as these are most important to human health. CVS first updated its group-wide prescribing guidelines for antibiotics. It then created a digital dashboard for every practice to enable the company to deliver prescribing data direct to each site on a monthly basis. This provided each practice team with an opportunity to reflect on their decision-making, to monitor trends and to measure their progress.

As a result, the group has seen a consistent decrease of 20% overall in the prescriptions of HPCIAs by all of its practices in the last 12 months. The introduction of the practice-specific dashboard has also encouraged practices to pursue their own individual improvement projects.

Angela Rayner, Quality Improvement Director at CVS, said: “There are times when prescribing a HPCIA is appropriate, such as when a diagnostic tool or sensitivity testing is guiding our use. So their use will never reach zero.”

“But we want to grow a culture that is focused on appropriate prescribing and disposal in our companion animal practices. So to grow this continuous improvement, we’ve supported practice teams to make it easier to improve the care they provide. Providing access to better data has been key, to encourage practices to reflect and consider their levels of use.”

As part of its Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS), CVS is also promoting the appropriate disposal of antibiotics. It is currently developing resources to enable practices to encourage clients to return medicines all year round. In 2022 CVS also collaborated in a profession-wide Antibiotic Amnesty to recover unused and unneeded antibiotics from companion animal owners in the UK, to prevent these medications from harming animals or the environment.

CVS is one of the only veterinary groups to publish an annual Quality Improvement Report. It reviews the holistic process the group has been through to;

  • break new ground with relevant and practical research and development
  • create a culture of learning and improvement where everybody can contribute
  • develop a learning environment to ensure collaboration and sharing of best practice
  • empower teams to make change by improving processes and removing obstacles
  • prioritise areas for improvement by identifying ways in which its practices can improve
  • grow a culture of continuous improvement by supporting practices to make it easier to improve, using better data
  • meet and exceed standards and to be open to third party scrutiny

CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices and referral centres in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In the last five years the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals.