Vets in 2030 should be a leading force for animal health and welfare and valued for their wider roles in society, according to the results of a major project revealed today (20 November) by the BVA and RCVS.
The Vet Futures report, launched at BVA Congress at the London Vet Show, says the profession in 15 years’ time should be confident, resilient, healthy and well supported, and benefit from exceptional leadership.
There should also be a broad range of diverse and rewarding veterinary careers, as well as thriving, innovative and user-focused businesses.
In short, the report’s overarching ambition for 2030 is to find “a profession in charge of its future”.
RCVS president Bradley Viner said: “The Vet Futures report is the culmination of a year of research and engagement with thousands of members of the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions, which has given us a very firm foundation on which to build our ambitions and recommendations.
“Over the years the veterinary profession has proved itself to be adaptable and able to face challenges head on, and we have no doubt that by working together we will realise our joint vision of a profession in charge of its future. Ultimately, we all want a profession that is confident in itself and one in which members are proud to call themselves veterinary surgeons.”
To achieve its ambitions, the 64-page report makes 34 recommendations for change that it hopes the whole profession will help take forward. These include suggestions the profession should:
- explore and consult on a sustainable structure for the veterinary degree
- review the regulatory framework for veterinary businesses to ensure a level playing field, enable a range of business models to coexist, ensure professionalism in commercial settings, and explore the implications for regulation of new technologies (for example, telemedicine)
- deliver a coordinated, well-funded and evidence-based approach to mental health and well-being for the veterinary team
- undertake a veterinary workforce study to assess the rewards, recognition and working conditions of vets and veterinary nurses, and the drivers of low and unequal pay
- develop a public-facing awareness campaign to raise the profile of wider veterinary roles
- strengthen leadership for the profession by exploring options for bringing greater coherence to the support and representation of the veterinary profession and exploring ways to develop the next generation of veterinary leaders
- explore options to develop an online animal welfare hub to better disseminate animal welfare research, evidence and tools
Other recommendations include developing an animal welfare strategy for the profession, increasing collaboration with medical professionals and environmental organisations, adopting a more strategic long-term outlook for research funding and exploring how to encourage a more diverse profession.
While the focus of Vet Futures has been on veterinary surgeons, the report recommends the veterinary nursing profession should build on the work of the project to develop its own clear vision and ambitions.
BVA president Sean Wensley said: “The report we are launching today is not the end of the story; it is the beginning of the next chapter.
“It is crucial we maintain the momentum of the project so we will be inviting members of the veterinary professions to step forward and join a new Vet Futures Action Group to help us turn the recommendations into actions and drive forward activity.”
- For more details of the Vet Futures report, visit www.vetfutures.org.uk
- For further comment on the project and its recommendations, see issue 49 of Veterinary Times.