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BBC programme explores benefits of independent practice
"I see the delivery of outstanding health care delivered by independent vets and I see them delivering that in a very affordable fashion". (Stock photo)

XLVets CEO says the future is bright for independents 

The chief executive of XLVets, Andrew Curwen, has said he is “very confident” about the future of independent veterinary practice, during a BBC programme on the changing landscape of veterinary ownership.

There are currently 1,800 veterinary practices in the UK, which comprise around 5,500 individual surgeries. Figures show that two years ago, about a third of these were corporate, but today, that proportion has risen to more than half.

Predictions suggest three quarters of practices could be taken over by corporates in another two years if the trend continues. However, Vet Record editor Adele Waters told the BBC You and Yours programme that the industry is seeing a “slow down” in acquisitions.

Mr Curwen commented: “The veterinary profession has historically been very adept at dealing with change. I see the delivery of outstanding health care delivered by independent vets and I see them delivering that in a very affordable fashion, without needing to be distracted by servicing the needs of third party shareholders, or people who have lent large amounts of money in buying the practice.

“So I’m very confident about the future of independent veterinary health care and I think it would be great for consumers to have the clarity as to who owns their practice now.”

Commenting on the benefits of independent practice, he added: “In independent practice the people making the decisions are the people who are working in the practice. They’re there day and, often, in the night. As owners of that business they’re there at the coalface of the operation.

“In large multinational organisations the people making the decisions may not be veterinary surgeons, they may not be in the same place at the same time. They may not even be in the same country necessarily as where those clinical activities are taking place.”

Adele Waters said the acquisition of practices has been “very competitive” and has been likened to a “feeding frenzy” with partners selling to the highest bidder.

She explained: “It takes years to get that money back. But I think now shareholders are concerned that it’s taking too long. And so now we are seeing a slow down in acquisition.

“I think independent practices are actually are feeling more buoyant than they were a year ago.”

Jacqui Garrett, chair of membership services at the Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices (FIVP), commented: “The independent practices we work with report benefits such as autonomy over decision-making, less focus on profit and the ability to offer a more bespoke service to clients, that is responsive to local conditions.

“In our members’ practices, ownership and decision-making is led by vets who work in the practice. Staff members also feel reassured by the stability offered by a practice that is ‘not for sale’.”

FIVP represents the interests of and promotes the values of independent practices, offering its members a range of benefits, in addition to acting as a voice for independents on key issues in the industry.

According to the BBC programme, a number of corporate organisations were invited to take part in the discussion, but declined.

 

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.