The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) was delighted toinaugurate its new president Iain Richardsat Congress 2009, during which he highlighted some of the key issues he wishes to address during his presidency.

SPVS Congress, which was held this year at the Belfry Hotel in Warwickshire from May 7-10, sought to address the challenging issues that practices are now facing. According to the society, feedback from delegates has been excellent with the standard of the CPD, presenters and social activities very highly rated.
Richard Hillman and Iain Richards
Congress also thanked Richard Hillman for an excellent and very busy presidency during which he has helped raise the profile of the society considerably.

Looking at the issues he would like to address during his time at the helm of SPVS, Mr Richards said: “The reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act will be a big part of the SPVS year. Any changes of the VSA are likely to hit practitioners hardest of all. It was to ensure public confidence that the RCVS was formed, and it is with the public that we have our daily interactions.

“It is satisfying to note, despite what some of the EFRACOM committee felt, that the proportion of actual complaints in comparison to public interactions is very small indeed. This point must not be lost on the RCVS or government. The profession is already held in high esteem by the public and any new act has to reinforce that.

“Alongside the VSA are the closely related aspect of 24hr cover and the Working Time Regulations . Indeed, it is no coincidence that our high public esteem is in part due to the willingness of the practicing arm of the profession to make itself available at all times. The WTR has a long way to go, but has the potential to make this aspect of our work untenable.

Farm practice continues to have its own challenges. Despite opinion suggesting that farms do well in a recession, the challenges are still out there. It is a rapidly changing field with issues of medicines supply still causing problems.

“TB will spread and more practices will have to look hard at the return LVI work provides. By adopting SPVS advice on fee construction and cost centre analysis , practices can accurately assess the true impact of this and any other revenue stream.

Small animal and many equine practices will potentially feel the recession the most, as both operate in a luxury market. The 2009 Congress theme, and that of the SPVS stream at the BVA Congress in Cardiff, is ‘Surviving the Recession’.

“The society will be at the forefront in providing solid advice to practices to enable them to thrive in such circumstances. Recessions have come and gone and we have a wealth of experience from previous SPVS members to draw upon. One thing is clear, providing a quality service is vital. To the client, this has to be a value for money service as well. Marrying these two is key to business success and SPVS council will be working towards these objectives. It is likely that those practices that adapt and survive a recession will be in a strong position in the future.

Quality and value apply to practices, regardless of their species grouping. At home in Kendal, my practice is pushing standards forwards in equine, farm and small animal work. Because of this I am lucky to be able to indulge in being a mixed practitioner who has a keen interest in all aspects of veterinary work. This places me in a good position to represent the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons at all levels and to all bodies. SPVS is a great society; it is a pleasure to be picked for the team.”

He concluded: “My vision goes beyond the year, however, and would encapsulate a desire that SPVS works with the other divisions of BVA to ensure that the veterinary profession provides the foremost view of all aspects of animal welfare and disease.”

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