BSAVA Announces its 65th President

26 May 2022

Alison Speakman has been appointed as the 65th President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), taking over from the outgoing President, Sheldon Middleton.

Alison has been an active member of the BSAVA since graduating from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School in 1991. She works in small animal practice and has completed a residency in feline medicine at Liverpool University’s School of Veterinary Science, as well as a PhD in canine Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Sheldon Middleton handed the President’s baton to Alison Speakman at the BSAVA’s AGM on the 18th of May.

Sheldon’s year-long tenure was marked by a calm and level-headed approach, providing stable leadership despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, Brexit, and industry-wide skills shortages – a perfect storm that continues to put pressure on the veterinary community. Sheldon stays on to support the BSAVA as Senior Vice President.

Commenting on her appointment, Alison Speakman says: “There’s no doubt that Sheldon is a hard act to follow but I’m delighted that he continues to support the organisation and I look forward to building upon his achievements of the last 12 months.”

“I’ve been a passionate member of the BSAVA throughout my career and a volunteer for almost as long. And as a working vet, I know first-hand the value of being part of a professional community: the importance of shared values, educational opportunities, and support shouldn’t be underestimated. We must remain focussed on the day-to-day challenges veterinary teams face, respond appropriately and at pace, and continue to explore new and effective ways to support our members.”

With that in mind, Alison’s three priorities for the year ahead are to:

  • Deliver ever-more innovative material across the BSAVA’s Education, Congress, and Publications arms;
  • Develop a wider digital offering so that BSAVA materials are widely available and easily accessible;
  • Highlight the importance of mental health, stress management, and wellbeing, and develop resources and member benefits to help ensure the safety and happiness of people within the veterinary profession.

“I am enormously proud to be a member of a profession that requires and excels in such a broad set of skills: intellect, knowledge, practical dexterity, compassion, and resilience under pressure – all of which are tested on a daily basis!” finishes Alison Speakman. “There is no other profession like it and to be President of an association which represents such people is overwhelming.”

With currently around 11,500 active members, the BSAVA is run by volunteers from its membership along with dedicated staff at its headquarters. It drives excellence in veterinary practice to improve the health and welfare of small animals and enables the community of small animal veterinary professionals to develop their knowledge and skills through leading-edge education, scientific research and collaboration.