Vet Futures, a major new initiative that aims to help the profession prepare for and shape its own future, was launched at the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Congress at the London Vet Show on 20 November.
The project is jointly funded and led by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the BVA, and will be a collaborative venture, drawing on the experience and insight of a wide range of individuals and organisations, including veterinary surgeons and nurses, veterinary bodies, farmers, pet owners and other key stakeholders.
The project will help understand where the provision of veterinary services is currently heading, whether this is in the best interests of the profession, animal owners and the public at large, 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, phone interviews and desk-based research, in addition to the gauging of opinion through events, the internet and social media.
The project will be a collaborative venture, drawing on the experience and insight of a wide range of individuals and organisations
This evidence gathering will be followed by an engagement phase, where the profession will be asked for their feedback on initial thoughts; a period of analysis, where a report will be written by the independent researchers; and, finally, there will be an action phase, where key strategic issues will be identified, together with a clear plan for action from the BVA and the RCVS, as well as other organisations and individuals.
“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?” asks Professor Stuart Reid, RCVS President. “The Vet Futures project will not just be about horizon-scanning, but getting a fix on those issues over the horizon that 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 President, says: “It is no secret that 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 that 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 that 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.”