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Hot Topics and Key Issues Discussed at VetsSouth


  • Hot Topics and Key Issues Discussed at VetsSouth

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    Wound management, critical and emergency care and ophthalmology were the crowd-pullers at this year’s VetsSouth, with a lecture on the welfare of brachycephalic breeds by vet and welfare campaigner Emma Milne a popular feature of the extended Nursing stream. Organised by 5m Publishing, VetsSouth offered 27 hours of CPD through the two veterinary streams, together with the two-day nursing stream.

    The conference took place on 6-7 March, at Sandy Park in Exeter with speakers including Ed Hall, Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at the University of Bristol; Dr Georgie Hollis, founder of Intelligent Wound Care and David Williams, Director of Studies in Veterinary Medicine and Pathology at the University of Cambridge.

    During a panel session on 6 March chaired by Jon King, Centre Manager for the Wales Veterinary Science Centre in Aberystwyth, panelists tackled issues including staff shortages, the role of veterinary nurses, the future of pet insurance and the implications of corporatisation.

    Addressing a question as to how well veterinary degrees prepare graduates for life in practice, panelist and BSAVA President Philip Lhermette said: “Graduating is like passing your driving test. I don’t think you should expect a new graduate to carry out emergency surgeries straight off the bat.” He said that it takes time for them to develop their skills and the amount of practical experience they receive during their EMS placements plays a role; “they need constant mentoring during their first year of practice.”

    David Williams from the University of Cambridge highlighted the importance of EMS placements as the “place were students can see what happens in the real world.” Following on, Philip Lhermette commended a recent initiative from the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS) to ensure greater consistency in EMS placements. The AVS has produced a briefing document for students and EMS practices detailing how placements should be structured and the skills students are required to learn.

    BVNA President Wendy Nevins added that, in addition to clinical skills, it is also important to help new graduates to develop paraclinical skills, for instance, the communication skills they need to deal with clients and the resilience to deal with difficult situations and failures.

    David Williams from the University of Cambridge agreed, commenting: “So much of this training is a ‘hidden curriculum.’ It’s not what we’re telling them but what they see happening in a consultation. It’s important for all of us working with new graduates to be aware that we are effectively demonstrating approaches that they can model.”
    Mr Matt Colvan, Sales and Marketing Director at 5m Publishing, said: “We are grateful to our excellent speakers for their contribution to this year’s VetsSouth. We are also delighted that the panel session proved so popular with many delegates sharing their views and experiences of the topics under discussion.
    “Feedback from this year’s delegates yet again confirmed that they view VetsSouth as a friendly, relaxed conference, offering high-quality, cost-effective CPD for vets and vet nurses who may not be able to get to the larger veterinary events. We look forward to welcoming them back next year.”

    VetsNorth takes place on 12-13 June at the AJ Bell Stadium in Manchester. For more information visit or contact 01793 20805.

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