Looking back on 2023 – Carl Gorman

22 December 2023


As 2023 comes to an end, it’s time to look back and reflect on an extremely busy year for us at the BSAVA! As the world recovers from COVID-19, we’ve had a challenging year of looking at the ways we deliver our CPD and information to our membership and the profession.

We have a huge number of committed volunteers who run our local committees, as well as sitting on our central committees, and they are very active within our 12 regions in providing local CPD both online and in-person. Our army of volunteers are an integral part of BSAVA and ensure that we are a community for the small animal profession. Rolling over from 2022, we continued to support the LINKS group meetings, offering training on the links between domestic abuse and animal abuse, and non-accidental injury.

One of the most popular events of 2023 included a collaboration with VetNI, AVSPNI, NIVA, BVA Northern Ireland and Young Vet Network in Northern Ireland, to celebrate 40 years since Des Thompson became President of the BSAVA. We were delighted to be joined by Des, his wife Rosalie and two of their daughters, to honour his invaluable contribution to the veterinary profession.

Of course, one of the biggest events for 2023 was BSAVA Congress, which was a great success. We had a 51% increase in footfall from 2022, with this year being the first Congress to completely be in person since before the pandemic. We enhanced the programme format to deliver more interactive CPD, offering ‘Day in the life of’ dramas, Q&A sessions, and panel discussions, giving you more opportunity to engage with the speakers and get more out of the event. We’re looking forward to BSAVA Congress 2024, which we hope will continue to offer you the best delegate experience possible!

As Chair of the Sustainability Working Group (SWG), it was a proud achievement to be awarded with our Silver Accreditation from Investors in the Environment (iiE) in October. As part of this, BSAVA Congress was the first vet Congress to be fully carbon audited, our monthly membership journal, JSAP, agreed to be a co-signatory on a COP28 joint editorial on climate change, and we also created a collection in the BSAVA Library on sustainability, to help our members understand how they can be more sustainable in practice. We also developed a joint policy position with BVA and BVZS on the responsible use of parasiticides in companion animals.

Our Publications team have worked on and produced several new resources this year, with the new edition of the Manual of Canine and Feline Endocrinology, the 11th edition of the BSAVA Formulary for dogs and cats, and for exotics, and a new edition of the Procedures Guide which includes new video content in the BSAVA Library. We’ve updated our poisons information guide, in collaboration with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VIPS), as well as the BSAVA Guide to Nutrition. More recently, we’ve released a new updated PROTECT ME poster, in collaboration with SAMSoc, with updated non-prescription forms in production.

We also launched the BSAVA Graduate Resource Hub in early October, which was created to provide a wealth of information, webinars, articles, and guides to help to enable and empower recent graduates and help them through their Vet GDP progress. The Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP) and Companion provided members with access to important research, as well as ‘how to’ guides and information on activities we were engaged in.

Towards the start of the year, we produced a Scientific Information Document on Brucella canis, which was accessed more than 7400 times and is still one of the most accessed resources in the BSAVA Library today. We were involved in several consultations, position statements and responses in collaboration with other associations across the profession including the CMA review of the veterinary profession, canine fertility clinics and the Dangerous Dogs Act, with focus on the XL Bullies ban. We promoted the antibiotic amnesty month in November, alongside RUMA CAE encouraging clients to return unused medicines, including antibiotics, to veterinary clinics for responsible disposal.

BSAVA PetSavers funded our first fellowship grant to study a potential test for myasthenia gravis. 2024 will be the 50th anniversary of BSAVA PetSavers and a number of events are planned to help celebrate! Having funded over two million pounds for research in its 50 years, BSAVA PetSavers is looking to be able to continue and expand its vital role in improving companion animal health.

Personally, I have been privileged to be able, through BSAVA, to contribute to our wonderful profession. Whatever the challenges thrown at us, I always find vets, nurses, and support staff to be dedicated, approachable, sympathetic, and importantly, good fun. I hope that our members, and the wider veterinary community, continue to support each other and to ensure that this remains a wonderful profession to be a part of. See you in 2024!