An initiative that aims to help the profession prepare for and shape its future has been launched by the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

Vet Futures was launched at London Vet Show (November 20) and is jointly funded and led by the RCVS and the BVA.

The project will help understand where provision of veterinary services is heading, whether this is in the best interests of the profession, animal owners and the public, and what might be done to shape an optimal future for the veterinary team, keeping animal health and welfare at its heart.

In the project’s first phase, independent researchers will gather evidence via focus groups, telephone interviews and desk-based research, in addition to gauging opinion through events, the internet and social media.

This will be followed by an engagement phase, where the profession will be asked for feedback and a report will be written by independent researchers. Finally, the action phase will identify key strategic issues, together with an action plan f from the BVA and the RCVS, as well as other organisations and individuals.

RCVS president Stuart Reid said: “The RCVS is implementing a programme of reform to make it a first-rate regulator, but how do we also make ours a first-rate profession that is resilient and agile enough to meet future demands? “The Vet Futures project will not just be about horizon scanning, but getting a fix on those issues over the horizon we may not yet have considered, such as the use of emerging technologies.”

“It’s an exciting challenge and I am looking forward to members of the veterinary team getting involved so that, together, we can develop an action plan that will deliver a sustainable future for the profession.”

John Blackwell, BVA’s president, said: “The veterinary profession is changing rapidly and that is why the theme for my presidential year is ‘driving change and shaping the future’. It is essential we come together to map out where we want to be as a strong and trusted profession and identify how we can make that happen.

“On such cross-cutting issues it is appropriate the two leading professional bodies come together to provide joint leadership for the profession, but we are keen to engage as many individuals and stakeholders as possible.

It is designed to be a hugely collaborative project and we want to hear voices from across the whole profession and the whole veterinary team.”

The project has a dedicated website,, where the latest events, reports and publications will be found.

There will also be a “topic of the month” for the duration of the project, with controversial opinion pieces being posted to stimulate debate from the profession and among animal owners and other stakeholders.

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