All vets are required to keep up to date with advances in veterinary medicine by carrying out Continuing Professional Development.

Some vets choose to go on and continue their studies further and gain additional qualifications in specific subject areas.



The first level of additional qualification is a Certificate. A Certificate holder has carried out additional study in specific subject areas such as medicine, surgery, anaesthesia or ophthalmology.

To gain a certificate a vet must have at least 2 years of experience working in the subject area. In addition a minimum of 2-3 years of further study is generally required.

Cliff Maw doing sental on rabbit at Bicester Vets

Cliff Maw performing a dental on a rabbit

Cliff Maw doing dental on rabbit at Bicester Vets

Helen Collett examining a cat’s mouth

This can involve attending lectures and practical courses and writing up case reports in the subject. Case reports are assessed and then at the end of the course of study an exam is undertaken.

Advanced Practitioner

Anyone with a certificate can apply to be an Advanced Practitioner. To be awarded this status, a certificate holder must keep up to date with advances in their subject area.

Several of our Vets have Certificates showing that they have expertise in their subject area:

  • Cliff Maw has a certificate in Anaesthesia CertVA
  • Claire Letts has a certificate in Small Animal Medicine CertAVP(SAM)
  • Rachel Marsden has a certificate in Cardiology CertVC
  • Palli Juggins has a General Practitioner Certificate in Small Animal Medicine GPCert(SAM) *see below
  • Helen Collett is currently studying for an Ophthalmology certificate

What’s more, Cliff and Claire have been awarded Advanced Practitioner Status and Rachel is currently in the process of applying for it.


The highest level of qualification is a Diploma. Holders of diplomas have a higher level of expertise in their subject and have carried out extensive study in their subject area and passed exams to assess this.

They must also have spent a minimum of five years working in their subject area. It is difficult to achieve a Diploma working in general practice and most Diploma holders achieve their Diploma whilst working and studying at a university or specialist referral hospital.

Diploma holders can apply to be an RCVS Specialist. To achieve this status, they must keep up to date and contribute to advancements in their specialism.

At Bicester Vets we have a visiting vet called Helen Renfrew (CertVR DipECVDI) who is a Specialist with a Diploma in Diagnostic Imaging. She works most Tuesdays at the practice carrying out ultrasound scans and interpreting radiographs. This means that our clients can have specialist level diagnostic imaging without the need to travel to a referral centre.

All of these people add a great deal to the already high level of expertise in the veterinary team at Bicester Vets. This ensures that your pets can get the best of care when they need it most.

*The CertGP awards are under a different awarding body called the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies.

Obee can’t thank Helen and Cliff enough for the advice that I received, and the care that Obee, my Bernese Mountain Dog had at your surgery.
I know there are many others behind the scenes that helped with his care as well, but, for me and Obee, Helen and Cliff were the faces of Bicester Vets.

I was very undecided as to the best route to go down, and at times it was confusing with almost too many options and possible outcomes! But you were patient with me and after a couple of weeks decided that the best option was to remove the tumour on his leg. Even though he is a big dog and 9 years old.

Anyway, two and a half weeks after the operation, he is doing really well and it looks like it was the right decision. He is happy and back to his old self.

Thanks again for your patience and help.


Building Plans for 2024

Building Plans for 2024

We have also commenced a major construction project externally which will add significantly to the facilities we can offer to our patients

Hip Hip Hooray for Ava

Hip Hip Hooray for Ava

Ava is now seven months on from her surgery. She is very lively and is behaving like a puppy again!