What does the future hold for the veterinary profession?

Posted on December 11, 2014 by John Blackwell

“Time flies when you’re having fun” or so the adage goes, and that is certainly true when you fill your day with BVA business. The last few weeks have been extremely busy with a whole range of different meetings with the various stakeholders with which we engage on your behalf.

In between we have had BVA Congress at the London Vet Show. Another successful event with many new (and, with respect, some old) faces engaging with the excellent CPD and particularly our contentious issues programme covering debate on antimicrobial resistance, veterinary surveillance, rabies control, dangerous dog legislation, the role of women as leaders within the profession, and a great panel debate on “the State of the Veterinary Profession: where are we now?”.

The “Ask the CVOs” session again gave the audience a unique opportunity to ask all four UK CVOs questions around disease control and policy implementation across all species groups and it is only right that I record here our thanks for their attendance, particularly as avian influenza had been confirmed in the UK that very week bringing its own pressure on their time.

But I also want to record my appreciation for everyone that took time out to attend and contribute to the various debates. I said in my opening address - if you did nothing else during the show you should take a moment out and attend the discussions that focused on the issues that concern our profession and let your views be heard. You did just that and I hope it gives you an appetite to further explore and contribute to the wider political issues that flow through our profession. A good place to start is to give us your views on the Council papers which are out now in the community regional forums 

The excellent session on women chaired by Gudrun Ravetz and including the forthright views of RCVS and SPVS past president Jacqui Molyneux and Professor Colette Henry, Editor of the International Journal of Gender & Entrepreneurship and former Norbrook Chair of Business & Enterprise at the Royal Veterinary College, left many hands still raised at the end of the debate as the clock ticked down. How does the profession engage with the changing demographic? How do we change working practices to accommodate different needs of the workforce? And how do we encourage the next generation of leaders who will carry the profession forward? Do you have an answer (or even a suggestion)? If so follow Gudrun’s post-debate discussion in the BVA community and feed in your views.

Also at the Show I was privileged to be able to share a platform with Professor Stuart Reid, RCVS President, to launch the Vet Futures project. This initiative is jointly powered by RCVS and BVA to gather and process views and research from within and outside the profession to generate some direction on what the landscape will look like in the future. Both organisations have a huge interest in the project as it aims to shape a sustainable veterinary profession that is fit for purpose, both for itself and the public whose animals are under its care. As I’ve mentioned before, my theme for the year is “Driving Change – Shaping the Future” and this project meshes exactly with that vision. Do get involved and feed your views in at Vet Futures

Let’s get to where we want to be!

Best wishes


John Blackwell

Written by John Blackwell

BVA President from September 2014 to September 2015

John is a farm animal and equine practitioner, and a director at Brownlow Veterinary Centre in Shropshire. Follow John on Twitter