The annual general meeting and awards day of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – was held on July 11 at One Great George Street in Westminster and marked the investiture of Stuart Reid as the new president for 2014/15.

In taking the role of RCVS president, Prof Reid outlined three areas of consideration he would like to pursue during his term in office:

  • To continue to push forward with improvements to the governance of the RCVS and its changes to the composition of the preliminary investigation and disciplinary committees.
  • To further the amount of work the college does on a global stage, including the possibility of the RCVS helping to set standards of veterinary education outside of the UK.
  • To look at the possibility of veterinary graduates being able to use the title “doctor” based on their registerable degree, as is the case in some other countries.

After a formal welcome and approval of the minutes of last year’s RCVS Day members of the college who were present were then asked to vote on a motion to formally adopt a new royal charter.

The motion, which was proposed by Prof Reid, and seconded by president of the British Veterinary Association, Robin Hargreaves, was passed by unanimous vote and the proposed new charter was delivered to the Privy Council that afternoon. Approval should be given later this year or early next year.

Speaking of the impact the charter would have on the veterinary nursing profession, Prof Reid said: “Words like ‘historic’ should be used sparingly, but, on this occasion, it is justified. The new charter gives the RCVS a formal duty to keep the register of veterinary nurses and makes the veterinary nurses council responsible for setting standards for their training, education and conduct.”

Following the AGM, outgoing president Neil Smith conferred a range of awards including, for the first time this year, the Queen’s Medal to Des Thompson OBE for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the profession.

Three Honorary Fellowships were bestowed at RCVS Day to Andrew Holliman, Maxwell Murray and Donald Rutty, for their outstanding individual achievements in the fields of veterinary medicine or science.

Fellowships by Meritorious Contributions to Learning were awarded to Alan Conley for his research on comparative reproductive endocrinology, and Robert Hanna for his research into certain digenetic tremadote parasites in domestic ruminants.

In addition, some 16 veterinary nurses were presented with Diplomas in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (DipAVN) small animal, and one equine.

Finally, Kathy Kissick presented this year’s VN Golden Jubilee Award to Hayley Walters, an anaesthesia and welfare veterinary nurse at the University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals and the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. She was recognised for her clinical, education and international outreach work.

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