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VN Futures Board appoints new chair
The VN Futures Board oversees and helps to coordinate the work of the VN Futures Initiative.

Rachael Marshall is the current chair of Veterinary Nurses Council

Racheal Marshall has been appointed as chair of the VN Futures Board, a collective that oversees and sets priorities for the VN Futures Initiative (VNF).

Ms Marshall, who is the current chair of Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council, took up the position at the fourth meeting of the Board, which took place at the Kennel Club’s offices in London in June. She will sit alongside VN Council vice-chair Liz Cox, BVNA president Wendy Nevins and BVNA vice-president Jo Hinde.

Launched in 2016 by the RCVS and the BVNA, the VN Futures Project aims to identify and draw up solutions to issues facing the veterinary nursing profession. The same year, the VNF published the VN Futures Report and Action Plan which set out 31 actions under six broad strategic aims.

To see these actions through, six working groups were formed to look at the broad strategic areas. The VN Futures Board was established in June 2018 to oversee and help coordinate the work of these groups.

Wendy Nevins commented: “In its first 12 months, the VNF Board has really got to grips with the direction and legacy of the VN Futures initiative. The clarity and direction it has brought is reinvigorating the Working Groups. The next 12 months will see a real focus on delivery of the original findings of the VFN Futures initiative.”

During the meeting, the Board reviewed the first 12 months of its work and agreed on plans to communicate the gains that have been delivered so far. These include the development of two new Diplomas in Advanced Veterinary Nursing, more resources to help VNs and vets navigate Schedule 3 and the publication of career case studies to illustrate the diverse array of roles available in the profession.

Wendy added: “The VN Futures project has a fixed five-year horizon to make sure we keep focus on what the profession said it wanted – and needed – to be delivered. At the end it will be for the profession to decide how well this has been done – and what comes next.”

It was also agreed at the meeting that the Board would have a presence at the Royal Veterinary College’s Student Veterinary Nursing Fest as well as the BVNA and BSAVA Congresses.

Racheal Marshall said: “The energy and life of the VN Futures initiative comes from veterinary nurses so we are excited to be taking this back out to meet nurses and ask them for their thoughts and comments on how these issues – like career progression, further qualifications, and emerging agendas like One Health – matter to them.

"We are really looking forward to a busy program of congress events in order to hear from people!”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.