President’s Reflection – Carl Gorman

1 June 2024

They say that time flies when you’re having fun or are busy. I think both of those very much apply to me as I approach the end of my year as BSAVA President. The year seems to have passed rapidly, yet my diary has been full and there has been much to work on. In my case I have still tried to work two days a week in my practice, and although that has been challenging, it has ensured that I still have a first-hand view of practice and direct experience of the challenges our members and colleagues face. The Competition and Markets Authority review of veterinary services for household pets is a fine example. While there is nothing wrong in the CMA carrying out a review, the misleading coverage in the press has piled extra pressure on those in practice. I’ve been pleased alongside colleagues from other associations to contribute to the BVA’s working groups on the CMA Review and on Transparency and Client Choice. It may be that an emphasis for the need to have a new Veterinary Surgeon’s Act is a positive to come out of the review, as well as the opportunity to highlight the fine work that small animal vets and nurses carry out.

Other challenges I have shared with our working colleagues include the XL Bully ban, the updated RCVS Under Care interpretations and the challenge of imported dog diseases, in particular Brucella canis. Being in a position to share first hand experiences of the challenges has helped in the working groups and consultations that I have taken part in.

Representing the association is a large part of the President’s role. I’ve been pleased to attend a whole range of meetings and conferences – WSAVA, FECAVA, VMX, SEVC, BVNA, LVS, BEVA, BCVA, VMG to name a few. I have become very acronym savvy. Of course, the highlight was our own Congress in March at Manchester Central. As always it was flawlessly organised by our Congress team and the Congress committee delivered an engaging, innovative and relevant programme. During Congress I was privileged to judge and deliver the Pet Plan award for Practice of the Year.  It has been noticeable to me at all these meetings that the recovery from the challenging COVID pandemic years is going well and delegates have really enjoyed and benefitted from meeting up face to face again. Meeting so many dedicated and impressive vets and nurses in the associations has been an enjoyable and humbling experience.

Joint officers’ meetings with the RCVS and other associations are a regular feature of our Board’s diary. I’m pleased to say that our relations are good and we have shared common aims and faced challenges together.

Much of my year has involved working on a major strategic review of BSAVA to ensure that we continue to provide the essential knowledge that the small animal profession needs and relies on. Not only do we want to maintain our role as the intersection of science, knowledge, education and application, but we will evolve innovative ways of delivering that vision.

Working with our volunteers and with the wonderful team of staff who work for BSAVA is always a great pleasure. I feel we are lucky to be in such a welcoming and sociable profession, and our staff, most of whom are not vets or nurses, fit in perfectly. They are dedicated to helping the profession through enabling BSAVA to excel.

I’ve been very grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many of the fine individuals in our profession. They confirm to me what a fine people work in our practices and in other areas where vets and nurses contribute. I’m also very proud that BSAVA have achieved Silver status with Investors in the Environment and is working towards Green level. BSAVA is a charity, but I have been able to raise some money for our research funding charity, BSAVA Petsavers, by taking part in the Chair’s challenge walk. BSAVA have supported many mental health and support initiatives, and I have helped to raise money for Vetlife by walking the River Ayr Way at the end of May.

I look back on a successful and enjoyable year. We have a vision for the association going forward and I will support Julian Hoad as he steps into the President role for the next twelve months.