Lecture Programme

Stream lectures do not require pre-booking, however, Saturday afternoon workshops must be booked in advance.



08:30 Elanco Business Breakfast

9:30: Presidents’ Welcome and Congress Opener
Keynote Speaker: Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

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11:00: What Can We Learn From Retail
Rhys Iley, Ex-Starbucks, M&S and Boots

12:00: Flexible working in equine practice: Making it work for you
Lucy Grieve, Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons & BEVA SVP

With more and more veterinary professionals looking to work flexibly, how can you make this work for you, particularly in a world that is increasingly ‘always on?’ For equine practice effective flexible working can prove even trickier, with ambulatory work making it harder to define finish times, the need to factor in travel, and clients invariably have your mobile number and calling any time of day or night. Drawing on her own experience and that gained from her time on BEVA Council, join Lucy as she guides you through her top tips on making flexibility work for you, to ensure an effective yet satisfying working life.

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14:00: “The way we do things around here” – Understanding practice culture and how change is possible
Dan Tipney, VetLed

Join Dan to discuss practice culture from his perspective as a coach and Human Factors specialist. Culture is a word that is often heard when challenges are faced within practice teams. Whether the challenges relate to team recruitment/retention, wellbeing, patient safety or efficiency and profitability, there is a clear recognition for the significance of practice culture. The first question, however, when discussing this topic; what do we really mean by the word culture in this context? During this session, we will break down the concept of practice culture, how it relates to our human behaviour and psychology and, ultimately, the areas which need conscious and deliberate attention if you are to nurture a culture which is consistent with your practice values. Dan will draw upon his experiences from outside the profession, specifically referring to principles of a high-performance culture in sport and a safety culture within aviation. The session will conclude by relating the underlying principles and insights from other fields to Dan’s work in the veterinary profession and ultimately provide a tangible approach to influencing culture in practice.

15:30: Human Leadership: How to lead when you don’t have the answers
Carolyne Crowe, VDS Training 

It doesn’t matter how many leadership books you’ve read, TED talks you’ve watched or courses you’ve attended, as a manager you’re bound to face situations that leave you feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for what your next move should be. And for those in positions of leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, those feelings may be in the extreme.

Don’t forget, everyone’s on this roller coaster, and no one is expected to have all the answers. So, whilst there’s no magic map to help navigate through the current crisis, or any future challenges that may be thrown at you, there are a number of key principles that can make your life easier and your role more effective. Carolyne will guide you through these fundamentals to enable you to have strategies in place to deal with anything that your work life may throw at you.

STREAM B: New to Management

11:00: Help! They were my friends, now I’m their manager
Helen Ballantyne, NHS

Friendships in the workplace not only help you get through the day, but can increase job satisfaction, performance and productivity. However, when you take on a leadership role in your team, managing friendships at work can feel tricky, especially when those friendships involve people you manage. A change in dynamic is bound to happen, so how do you navigate the fine line of being a friend, who also has to set boundaries as a manager? Helen Ballantyne, who worked as an RVN before qualifying as a human-centred nurse and working for the NHS, will talk you through her experiences, and suggest the ground rules and boundaries to set, and the pitfalls to avoid, to help you find the right balance between being a manager and a friend.

12:00: Sink or Swim – What other options are there? Supporting new team members from a new managers perspective
Samantha Thompson RVN, Cert VN ECC Grad Dip VN DET (Diploma in Education and Training), Linneaus

Whilst some joiners relish the sink or swim approach, it can often leave new team members feeling anxious and with low confidence. In the worst-case scenario, it can have an impact on their desire to stay working within a company. Whilst the creation and implementation of induction programmes can be time consuming, in the long run the benefits can outweigh this initial output and be adapted for all areas of the practice. However, as a new manager this can appear daunting.

Samantha will therefore cover designing a programme of induction from the ground up – looking at induction structure, skills scanning, establishing prior knowledge and building a resource bank. She will talk through the common obstacles faced and consider ways to overcome these. With a review of successful induction case studies and suggestions for development, new managers will come away with strategies on how to build an effective induction programme in practice.

14:00: Effective Complaint Management
Jennie Jones, Veterinary Client Mediation Services

This interactive session on complaint management will seek to introduce those new to a veterinary practice management role to the key methods and strategies for conflict resolution, focused on effective complaint handling at a local level, and how this can support a learning culture and quality improvement. The session will be delivered by Jennie Jones of the Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS). During the session, Jennie will share insights from the independent mediation organisation, funded by the RCVS which provides effective complaint resolution and mediation across the veterinary sector in the UK. Jennie’s session will use real world examples to explore the most effective strategies that new managers can use when encountering disputes. As experts in complaint mediation and utilising complaint insight to positive effect, Jennie will share experience and insight from the VCMS and across regulated and healthcare sectors. The session will also look at how new managers can support their team by shaping a progressive learning culture which uses all forms of feedback as positive tools to improve client relationships and the individual professional resilience and satisfaction of the team.

15:30: 10 Laws Every Veterinary Manager Needs to be Aware of
Brian Faulkner, Colourful CPD / BVRA

As a new veterinary manager, the scope of tasks, issues and incidents that you have to deal with can seem overwhelming and endless.  Often it is difficult to distinguish the “Law of the Land” from cultural habits or subjective interpretations about the ‘right’ way to do things – or what Brian Faulkner, BVRA Co-Founder and Colourful CPD Director, refers to as “The Law of the Laird”.  Join Brian as he outlines 10 laws, regulations or standards that veterinary managers need to be aware of in order operate legally and professionally. This talk aims to provide those new to a management role the practical understanding and application of a range of regulations that relate to clinical, client, financial and employment aspects of veterinary practice.


11:00: Conquering the Caseload Peak – how small changes can lead to great achievements
Laura Playforth – RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisor

In addition to traversing the terrain of chronic staffing resource shortages and withstanding the onslaught of the pandemic, the veterinary professions in the UK were then hit with a tidal wave of new pets. Caseload increases of 50% faced diminished and fatigued teams. Fortunately veterinary teams are problem-solvers and solution-finders. We innovate, we improve, we learn and we share. What we have learnt are new ways of working, born out of necessity, to address the caseload : staffing imbalance. In this session we discuss how system and process changes can significantly reduce the time it takes to perform our roles, how we can implement and measure these changes, making sure we can get to the other side of the caseload peak successfully.

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12:00: Digital Innovation in 2022 and Beyond, Where Convenience is King
Jamie Crittall, Virtual Recall & Zoetis

Over the past couple of years, practices have had to be agile in responding to the COVID crisis, and technological advances have played a huge part – some more successfully than others. From client communications to home delivery, telemedicine to system integrations, the best digital innovations have minimised workload for practice staff, improved profitability, enhanced the client experience and are functionally, easy and enjoyable to use. ‘Convenience’ is the watchword and, in this session, Jamie will highlight the top tech that will make life simpler and better for your team and your clients.

14:00: What matters to you? Finding joy in work as an antidote to burnout
Angela Rayner, RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisor

Three-quarters of vets are concerned about stress and burnout in the profession as a result of COVID-19, according to the BVA.  In a profession faced with high workloads and continued staffing pressures, we could see burnout reaching epidemic levels. Burnout affects all aspects of our work and leads to lower levels of staff engagement, which correlate with lower client experience, and is also linked with lower-quality patient care, including safety.

So, what can leaders do to counteract this epidemic? The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) believes an important part of the solution is to focus on restoring joy to the workforce.  As human healthcare is faced with similar levels of burnout, the Joy in Work guide was developed as an antidote, as joy is an essential resource for the enterprise of healing.

Yet, joy in work is more than just the absence of burnout or an issue of individual wellness; it is a system property.  Since joy in work is a consequence of systems, quality improvement methods and tools have a role in its pursuit.  In this session, we will talk about our experience so far with implementing Joy in Work and share lessons learned that may help you in bringing more joy to your team.

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15:30: Time Management: Escaping The Hamster Wheel Once & For All
 Dave Nicol, VetX

Good leaders know the value of time and spend it wisely. The rest of us run around like headless chickens trying to cram as much as possible into our day, so our to-do list gets just a little smaller. It never seems to work though, because you are spending your time on the wrong things. This behaviour is bad for your practice, bad for your team, and bad for you. Leaders MUST understand the principles behind the value of time and where you have to get better at spending it as a Leader. The alternative is you end up a burned-out, charred pile of manager ash. Now more than ever, this needs to be addressed. In this session, you will learn the ‘real’ value of time, how to decide what to do, and how to make sure you have the time to commit to the things that really matter. If you think this is just another time management session, think again!


11:00: Civility Saves Lives: Why behaviour matters
Helen Silver-MacMahon, VetLed

A recent poll conducted by VetLed found that 96% of veterinary professionals have been on the receiving end of incivility.  Sadly, almost all of us have heard, seen or been subjected to rude or uncivil behaviour within veterinary practice.  But perhaps we aren’t fully aware of the impact incivility can have on us as individuals and as part of a wider team.  In this session learn about the impact of incivility on our performance, how it affects job retention, and importantly discover established tools to both challenge and improve incivility in the workplace.

12:00: Personal Effectiveness and Work / Life Balance
Andrew Kitton, AFK Training

“There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important things.”  Brian Tracy, effectiveness expert. This is probably true. The trouble is, identifying what the most important things are. What do you need to achieve to make sure you feel your personal life and you work life are both successful?  Once identified, how do you ensure you are motivated and energised to complete these tasks, whilst getting the balance between work and home life?

In this session, training and development consultant, Andrew Kitton will share some tips and best practices to help you gain focus on what you want to achieve and how you can integrate personal effectiveness into your work and home life. The session will cover:

  • What do you want to achieve – at work and in your personal life?
  • Developing a positive mindset
  • Setting simple goals to create focus for the day
  • Using your personal energy levels to help with productivity
  • Tackling procrastination to help you feel more motivated
  • Set work/home boundaries

14:00: Driving Performance Through Feedback
Andrew Kitton, AFK Training

According to the Corporate Leadership Council’s research, the most effective action a manager can adopt to improve employee performance is effective informal feedback. In this session, training and development consultant, Andrew Kitton will share with you what effective informal feedback is. He will also show you how to give feedback in such a way that it motivates and develops your team. He will offer key tips on how using timely feedback can help you to:

  • Nip any underperformance issues in the bud
  • Give clarity on your expectations
  • Drive performance

This interactive session will not cover performance ratings or the appraisal process but will focus on the day-to-day interactions that you have with your team.

15:30: Leading from the Right Brain: How our brain relates to our ability to be great leaders
Mark Tabachnik BSc (hons) BVM&S Cert EP PG Cert VBM MRCVS

This session looks at the neuroscience of the brain and how it relates to our ability to be great leaders.  The survival brain can make us feel stressed, anxious and fearful – no doubt a common response over the past year.  The left brain is a computer which stores protocols and procedures.  Accessing our right brain will provide us with a whole new set of tools, including intuition, empathy and creativity.  The key is to balance our left brain knowledge with the right brain’s intuition, to help prevent survival brain kicking in.

We can develop both the insight and the habits for right brain thinking using mental fitness – our ability to respond to life’s challenges with a positive rather than negative mindset. To improve our leadership, we can use our right brain for curiosity, detection of mood and energy, and big picture thinking. Key leadership qualities such as problem solving, conflict management and strategic thinking become more creative and positive when viewed from the right brain perspective.



08:30 Citation Business Breakfast: Employment Law Update


09:30: Imposterism: What is it and how can I address it for both myself and my team
Iain Price, VDS Training

Are you an imposter?  Do you ever feel like a fraud?  Are you ever worried about being ‘found out’?  You are not alone!  Far from being a syndrome, ‘imposterism’ (feeling like you are not good or qualified enough for the roles and situations that you are in) is today a pandemic of its own.  Research suggests that before Covid-19 nearly three-quarters of us felt like an imposter at some point in our lives.  The seismic shifts and uncertainties of the last nearly 2 years has made this even worse. So, what can you do to turn around feelings of being an imposter for yourself and your teams?  Dr Iain Price is a neuroscientist, trainer and coach with VDS Training who helps high performing individuals and teams reframe and recapture confidence and control in their lives and ambitions. In this session Iain will help you understand what imposterism really is and how you can better recognise and address your own ‘imposter’.  He will also explore what leaders can do to support the ‘imposters’ in their teams to regain performance and wellbeing in practice.

10:30: Effective Equine Out of Hours Provision
Panel Session with Shelley Cook, Little Rock Equine Vets; Lucy Grieve, Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons; & James Hopkins, Equicall

Managing your out of hours service and ensuring this works for your clients, your team, their wellbeing and your practice finances is never an easy task. With representatives from small and large equine practices, plus a dedicated out of hours service, this panel session will discuss the do’s and don’ts of an effective OOH offering and answer any questions you may have on how to implement this in your practice.

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12:00: Empowered RVNs: Becoming the quality improvement ambassador in your practice
Lou Northway, RCVS Knowledge Clinical Lead 

In this session Lou Northway aka Lou the Vet Nurse will discuss how nurses can become Quality Improvement ambassadors to improve clinical standards, patient safety and communication in practice. QI benefits the team, patient care, clients, and the business as a whole. So, as a nurse, how do you take the steps to become the driving force for positive change? Join Lou as she shares her experiences and top tips to take back to practice.

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STREAM B: Setting up Practice

09:30: Setting Up in Practice: Do you have your finances in place?
Simon Biles, Moore Scarrott

With reduced opportunities for individuals to buy-in to practices, escalating valuations and restricted bank funding making buy-ins financially difficult, Moore Scarrott are seeing a significant return to individuals looking to start-up their own practice. Getting the right financial projections and funding in place to start with is key to making your new practice a success. Simon Biles from Moore Scarrott will run through the key elements to consider when going through this process, including examples of what other successful start-up practices have managed to achieve.

10:30: Your Vision, Mission and Values: The guiding force behind your practice
Rhiannon Gibbs, Ad-Esse

If you’re considering setting up your own practice, just as important as getting your business plan in place, is establishing your own vision, mission and values to attract and retain both your client base and practice team. However, where do you start in crafting effective ones?

  • A good vision statement will describe your business goals and how it wants to solve the problems of the future.
  • A good mission statement will focus more on why a business drives value instead of what they do. Increasingly important in the veterinary world, a good mission will differentiate you from your competition and form the basis for a strategy that creates real competitive advantage.
  • A good set of values goes beyond obvious statements of intent and becomes a guide for the way your employees behave and interact with your clients, again, driving competitive advantage.

12:00: Setting up my Own Practice: How I did it and what I would do differently
Panel Session with Liz Somerville, Loch Leven Equine; James Horner, James Horner Vets and Rachel Simmons, Edhen Vets

Join this interactive session with a panel of practice owners sharing their personal experiences and key challenges faced when opening their practices. Representing newly opened practices, those that have a few years’ experience and those that are well established, this open discussion with the practice owners will include tips on what worked well, and what they wouldn’t do again in hindsight. Key areas to be covered will include property, finance and building your team with questions to be welcomed from the audience.


09:30: Performance Management: Why you shouldn’t run a practice on opinions
Joe Hill, VetPartners

When it comes to performance management, why measure? Nearly all people have opinions and most think they are right! The purpose of measurement is to help set aside opinion-based discussions. By adding data and measurements to an assessment, discussions will be less emotive while ensuring that outcomes can be assessed. The maxim “what gets measured gets done” holds true for most, if not all organisations. Consequently, great care needs to be exercised when selecting which aspects of performance to measure. In this session, Joe will focus on measurements that are commonly used, and recommend additional measurements which should be used routinely. He will not only discuss the overall purpose of their use, but also describe the pros and cons of each, helping you to decide which to implement in your practice.

10:30: Using Content Marketing to Achieve Your Goals
Andrew Rastall, Connected Vet

Despite the strange times we’re living in, one thing learnt over the lockdowns was the beneficial effect that established-and-competent content marketing strategies could have on how clients interact with a practice. In this practical and evidence-based session, Andrew will illustrate how the application of the basics of content marketing can help you achieve real world aims. Want more clients? Content marketing is the key. Need less clients calling? Content marketing can help. Wish pet owners would do things differently? Guess what will nudge them in the right direction?

12:00: VetGDP: Everything you need to know


09:30: Veterinary Women in Leadership
Veterinary Woman and XLVets

10:30: Enabling Inclusion Through Leadership
Rebecca Armstrong, Sparkle

During this session, HR and Leadership consultant, Rebecca will explore how inclusion is enabled through leadership, in the context of the veterinary sector. Drawing on the psychology of the team, she will review the concept of ‘power’ and its evolution from being a top-down approach into a relational approach. She will explain the difference between a Parent-Child model of leadership, and all the behaviours that are triggered by that, and contrast that with the Adult-Adult model and how this creates inclusion. She will also consider what employees want and demand today in terms of flexibility. To find out more, attend Rebecca’s afternoon workshop on this topic.

12:00: Exciting new session – watch this space!

WORKSHOPS ALL STARTING AT 2.00PM: To be booked in advance, options to include:

Enabling Inclusion Through Leadership
Rebecca Armstrong, Sparkle

Building on the themes introduced in her earlier session, Rebecca will discuss the role of leadership in enabling inclusion. She will encourage self-reflection and analysis of our own practices in terms of inclusion identifying opportunities for improvement. She will also explore why we (and our people) react in different ways and how to get the best out of people in an inclusive way. The session will end with 5 key steps we can take on the journey to building an inclusive workplace. This workshop will be a continuation of Rebecca’s earlier session, but it is not compulsory to have attended that.

New to Management Forum
Facilitated by Alison Daubney, VMG and Summerleaze Vets & Fiona Leathers, Westport Vets

Stepping up to a management role can be a daunting prospect, particularly when doing so during the uncertainty of the past couple of years. In the words of a famous telecoms advert, it’s good to talk, so if you’re new to a management role, join us for this relaxed session where you can share experiences, discuss any dilemmas or issues that you may be facing, or simply come along to connect with others in a similar situation.

Start with a Bang: Creating a successful marketing strategy for launch and beyond
Justin Philips, Practice Made Purrfect

You’ve got the premises sorted and a vision for the practice you want to create, but how are you going to get people through the door to break even as quickly as possible? Join Practice Made Purrfect’s Justin Phillips, a vet practice marketing expert, as he guides you through how to build a marketing infrastructure to make your dream a reality. Having successfully launched numerous practices himself, Justin will take you through case studies of opening marketing plans and provide you with takeaways to adapt for your own practice launch. He’ll also recommend how best to invest your time by reviewing the digital tools available to enable an efficient and profitable practice from the outset.

Sustainability in Practice: Practical Top Tips
Zoe Halfacree, Ruth Clements and David Black, Vet Sustain

This interactive workshop from Vet Sustain will provide an open forum to discuss current issues and receive the latest guidance regarding sustainability in the veterinary sector. The session is for all veterinary professionals with an interest in understanding the environmental impact of both farming and clinical practice, and the potential practical and cost-effective solutions to mitigate this. Members of both the Vet Sustain Greener Veterinary Practice and Food and Farming working groups will provide brief presentations on their work before opening up the floor for a facilitated discussion between themselves and the workshop attendees.

#GoodWorkplaces Workshop