Blog 3 from BSAVA President Sue Paterson

Much as I hate this isolation and social distancing, I thought having to stay at home I might actually catch up on all those papers I had filed in my ‘when I get a minute’ pile, or put the finishing touches to those reports I hadn’t quite got round to completing. Sadly, the COVID-19 mountain of emails, press releases and telcos (my new favourite word) expanded to fill any catch-up space, and they may have to wait a few more weeks yet.

On a more serious note, it has been another busy week.

A huge amount of time and effort went into producing the emergency triage guide at the end of last week. A group of specialists, led by Zoe Belshaw, compiled an invaluable triage tool which has been up-loaded onto the BSAVA site as a reference for vets, nurses and receptionists who are screening clients calls. It hopefully will allow everyone to prioritise cases, so that emergency cases can be dealt with quickly. The triage tool is accompanied by a much more comprehensive triage guidance document which aims to help vets undertake remote consultations and compile rational lists of differential diagnoses for each case. It is not a comprehensive textbook, but aimed to support vets in their decision making. This is also available on the BSAVA website.

I have been bowled over by the response we have had to this guide on a global scale. It has already been shared by FECAVA and flagged by WSAVA. I have also had requests to use the guide from Ireland, as their veterinary community go into lock-down, and from New Zealand, who are some way behind us on the coronavirus curve but are already starting to recognise the need for veterinary guidance.

The email that I think really brought it home to me in a very positive way was the one from Italy, asking to get the triage tool translated into Italian. What a fantastic reminder that, as veterinary surgeons, we are part of a massive global community with a single mission.

Tonight has seen RCVS announcing that it is reducing the annual CPD requirement by 25% – I am sure this is an appropriate and proportionate response to the current veterinary landscape.

I know at the moment there will be vets and nurses facing very differing challenges at work and home. There will be some sitting in work twiddling their thumbs, waiting for their handful of daily cases to arrive, then others running round like headless chickens covering for colleagues who are sick or self-isolating or looking after children as well as those working from home juggling phone calls, child care, family life and the need to maintain a business. For some, the opportunity to sit down and read an article or listen to a webinar or podcast will be a welcome break from binge-watching Netflix, for others nothing will be further from their thoughts than CPD.

We know that the cancellation of BSAVA Congress did create a CPD hole in many people’s year, so we will be recording more than 100 hours of the lectures over the next few weeks to make them available to everyone. They will be on line for the next 12 months so if you want to intersperse a re-run of After Life with a cardiology lecture or a endocrine podcast, check out the BSAVA website.