Who’s who behind Scottish Congress

6 July 2017

BSAVA Scottish Congress moves to Glasgow this September. We spoke to some of the current and past volunteers who are responsible for creating what is known as ‘the friendly Congress’.

Madonna Livingstone
Senior Vet, Ark Veterinary Clinics and BSAVA Scottish Committee Chair

How did you go about putting the programme together, and which speakers are you most excited about seeing?

Putting the programme together was a real team effort. The entire committee worked hard to think of what subjects vets and nurses in practice cared about and what would benefit them. The fact that the committee is a mixture of nurses, vets in practice and specialists means that we hopefully have a good idea of what is locally relevant. We chose topics that interested us and ensured we have a bit of something for everyone. It is difficult to choose topics and hopefully everyone will enjoy what we have done. Speakers were chosen on reputation and if they were good to listen to!

Personally I am excited about the whole Congress but if I had to pick one it would be ‘Recognizing abuse in animals’ by Paula Boyden. This is a subject I feel is under recognised in practice.

Why the change of venue and what difference do you think it will make?

After spending six years in Edinburgh, we felt it was time for a change. Scottish Congress has gained the reputation as being the friendly congress, so what better venue than in the friendly city of Glasgow? Hosting this year’s Congress at the SECC makes it accessible for everyone; it is easy to get to with public transport as well as driving. There is also a wide variety of hotels to suit all budgets within easy reach of the venue. We are hoping the accessibility will allow the congress to grow, providing education, fun, and a good catch up with old and new friends.

Who is this event good for? Is there something for the newly qualified and, equally, will those qualified for 10 years come away with new knowledge?

Every day is a school day, no matter if you have been qualified a few months or 20 years. Learning in a relaxed, supportive environment benefits everyone. Newly qualified vets can learn how things are done in the ‘real world’ whilst experienced vets can gain new skills and gain greater confidence with current therapies and procedures. I particularly think the behaviour stream will benefit new and experienced vets alike.

Why the collaboration with BEVA? What does this add to the delegate experience?

Collaborating means expanding the appeal of congress – and variety is the spice of life! Access to top-quality equine CPD along with top-quality small animal suits the mixed-practice vet in particular.

What are the challenges in producing this event and what are the benefits to you personally?

Trying to organize Scottish Congress at the same time as planning regional CPD, working full time and attending meetings can be a little daunting. A major challenge is trying to make the event appeal to a diverse audience, and ensuring that all the deadlines are met by everyone can be hard. However, the whole committee rallies round and we get it all done. The support from Woodrow House HQ is invaluable. Personally I have benefited most by meeting some truly wonderful people. My self-confidence has grown and it is an amazing feeling to see all our hard work come together. I am doing things I never would have thought possible and I am proud to be involved with Scottish BSAVA.

I think the main benefit has been making some remarkable new friends.

Neil Hudson
Senior Veterinary Clinical Lecturer at the Royal (DICK) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh and BEVA council member

What is the benefit of the tie-in with BSAVA Congress for BEVA and how healthy is equine CPD in Scotland?

We are delighted to return to BSAVA Scottish Congress after last year’s successful launch of the equine stream.

The feedback was positive from folk who really appreciated the opportunity to combine some equine talks with their small animal CPD, but also from delegates who were keen to come to just the equine stream. Equine CPD in Scotland is in a very healthy state. BEVA runs a number of events in Scotland from regional meetings through to advanced practitioner workshops in areas such as dentistry. We were keen to join in again with BSAVA to add another accessible option for busy practitioners.

Who would benefit from the BEVA equine stream?

The talks will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in equine practice, including those practitioners who see horses as the minority of their mixed caseload.

How did you pick your subjects and speakers?

We have a selection of excellent speakers all based in Scotland, with a variety of areas of expertise from medicine to surgery and ophthalmology. We hope the talks from experienced speakers will be engaging for the audience and provide good updates on important topics in equine practice. Highlights this year include Andy Matthews talking about ocular emergencies, Andrew McDiarmid discussing orthopaedic emergencies, Sandy Love covering worm management and David Sutton talking about strangles, while I will be speaking about dysphagia.

Graeme Eckford
Veterinary Surgeon, Inglis Veterinary Hospital, BSAVA Congress Committee Chair and past Scottish Committee Chair

How were you introduced to Scottish Congress?

My first Scottish Congress was shortly after joining the committee. I’d not been before and all I had to compare it with was the Birmingham Congress. I was really impressed by the quality of the CPD and the venue. It was like a mini-Birmingham in the quality of the content but there was an intimate feel to it that made it very attractive.

What do these smaller regional events offer?

Regional events are great for many reasons – they are more relaxed and there are none of the pressures of travel. They are a great way of catching up with local colleagues from other practices and an opportunity to meet with the regional sales staff in the exhibition. A lot of the speakers are local too – many of the university specialists I refer cases to throughout the year will be there. You can get a more personal experience at a smaller event, in a friendly and intimate atmosphere.

Why is it important that Scottish Congress, like its Birmingham sibling, is created by vets and vet nurses?

The regional committee has ownership of the whole process from planning to delivery. It’s a great way to be hands on with the running of the Congress and overall I think that adds to the friendly feel – these events are run by the profession for the profession – and that is unique.

So what for you are the defining characteristics of Scottish Congress?

A great, friendly atmosphere (for those who don’t like big crowds it can be less intimidating than a large national event) and yet because it comes from BSAVA you can count on getting quality CPD, often from local speakers. Most importantly, you get to go to the ceilidh!

Find out more

To learn about the new venue and discover this year’s exciting programme head to www.bsavacongress.com/scottishcongress