The BVA’s president has challenged the sector to inspire all its staff to embrace positive change as he set out his priorities for 2023.
BVA’s president says the sector is embracing change as he sets out his aims and fears for the year ahead.
The organisation is preparing to launch a new series of online sessions inspired by its Good Veterinary Workplaces campaign.
But Malcolm Morley believes the profession has now embraced the need for reform and has the collective will to find solutions to its present challenges.
Dr Morley said: “One of the key things is to not deny that we have issues over recruitment, retention, return and workforce shortages.
“If you wind back, I think people were still trying to question, ‘do we have a problem?’
“I think we do [have the will to change] because we’re seeing quite a fast change in how people perceive things, a lot of the Good Veterinary Workplaces issues.
“If we’d been talking about that a few years ago, a lot of people would have said this isn’t of interest. Now, that’s key stuff.”
The new lunchtime webinars are due to begin in January and are expected to run on a monthly basis throughout much of 2023.
Investing in people
Dr Morley said the sessions would offer “bite-sized” and “inspirational” content to all members of the practice team, covering aspects of the Good Veterinary Workplaces idea that also encompass his presidential theme of investing in people.
He added: “I think a lot of this is just raising the sense of everyone in the team that they can make a difference.
“We’ve got to inspire people that they can make a difference and point people in the right direction. We’ve got a passion for highlighting these issues, but in a way that inspires people and highlights the changes that people in practices and other businesses are making.”
Animal welfare strategy
In a wide-ranging interview, Dr Morley outlined a broad range of issues the association is focusing on during the year ahead, including a review of its animal welfare strategy, campaigning for regulation of canine fertility clinics and the continuing debate over the RCVS’ “under care” proposals.
The college is expected to consider its response to the results of professional and public consultations on the issue at a council meeting in Nottingham on 19 January; although, senior figures have maintained that change is essential to ensure the guidelines are fit for future generations.
But while he expressed hope there could still be changes to the college’s plans, after a decision was delayed in November to allow more time for consultation responses to be considered, Dr Morley stressed the BVA’s position on the issue had not changed.
Dr Morley insisted its stance was not based on resistance to developments in telemedicine, which he said offered many opportunities for the sector.
But he added: “We still think the VCPR [vet-client-patient relationship] should be at the heart of remote prescribing and what we’re not clear of is where the barrier is to including the VCPR in it.
“We continue to think that if there is remote prescribing outside the VCPR, then that is a watershed moment for the veterinary profession with significant concerns for animal welfare.”
Another key plank of the BVA’s agenda is to maintain pressure on the Government to bring forward long-awaited reforms to veterinary legislation.
New laws, replacing the 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act, are widely seen as crucial to help address a range of topics, including regulation of allied professionals, modernising fitness to practise and the BVNA-led campaign to protect the veterinary nurse title.
Dr Morley said: “There’s been calls for veterinary legislative reform for two or three decades.
“What’s unusual at the moment is there’s widespread agreement in the profession that this is needed. There’s no one saying this isn’t needed.”
A more recent legal frustration has been the continuing delay to the Kept Animals Bill, despite more than 100,000 people signing an online petition demanding that Parliamentary time is made available to enable it to pass into law.
During a Westminster Hall debate last month, the Government insisted the bill would be brought back when time allowed, although it admitted no timetable had yet been set for it.
Dr Morley said: “What we hope is there will be some statement coming out soon to set out a timetable. That’s what we’d very much like to see.
“We will just keep pushing that one and it’s a key lobbying priority for us to keep at parliamentarians.”
Dr Morley also confirmed that plans for the BVA to set up a long-awaited working group to examine issues relating to pet diets are expected to progress in the first few months of 2023, while a similar body is also working to develop a formal position on gene editing.
Credit to: BVA leader: ‘We can inspire positive change in new year’ (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). BVA leader: ‘We can inspire positive change in new year’ [online]
Available at: https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/bva-leader-we-can-inspire-positive-change-in-new-year/
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