BVA president Simon Doherty addresses guests at annual dinner
BVA president Simon Doherty has highlighted the varied and diverse work of the veterinary profession and called for the workforce to ‘pull together’ to cope with the unpredictable and difficult months ahead.
His call comes amid increasing concerns about shortfalls in workforce capacity after Brexit and a increase in demand for certain veterinary services. Speaking at BVA’ s annual dinner in Westminster last night (5 February), Mr Doherty said:
“The veterinary profession may be relatively small, but it is also hugely diverse and influential. Vets have high levels of public trust in our insights and expertise, and strong connections with our colleagues, clients and the communities we serve.
“In these uncertain times, it’s more crucial than ever that the veterinary community pulls together to navigate the difficult landscape ahead and continue to provide the best possible standards of care.”
More than 80 people attended BVA’s London dinner, including Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Food and Animal Welfare, David Rutley, England’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss. Colleagues from across the veterinary profession and key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations were also in attendance.
During his speech, Mr Doherty paid tribute to the high number of EU vets working across the UK and pressed for urgent action to protect against veterinary shortfalls.
“We’re very fortunate to have many fantastic EU colleagues working in England and throughout the UK, and it’s incumbent on us all to make sure that veterinary capacity is maintained whatever the next few months hold,” he said. “Be in no doubt, we are at crisis point now and need to avoid a cliff edge.
“If you take one thing away with you today, please support and share our calls for vets to be reinstated on the Shortage Occupation List. This would give a critical vote of confidence in the veterinary workforce and the multiple benefits it realises, and help to safeguard against a post-Brexit crisis in capacity.”
Mr Doherty also praised vets, stakeholders and the wider public for helping to amplify its campaigning activity across key animal welfare issues. Describing the recent drive for animal sentience to be embedded in UK law, Mr Doherty urged the Government to act fast to bring the principle into legislation:
“Parliamentary time may be tighter than ever before, but here was an opportunity to make the UK’s status as a global leader on animal welfare resoundingly clear. We are in talks with Defra to find a solution, and as the clock ticks down we will continue to keep momentum up and engage our members and stakeholders in this vital campaign.”
Image (C) BVA.