Lecture Programme

Please note: lectures cannot be pre-booked and some may be oversubscribed on the day.  Therefore, we can’t guarantee you will get into your first choice but there will always be alternative options available. 


8:00: Citation Business Breakfast:  Employment Law Clinic – Sarah Rhodes, Citation

9:00: Presidents’ Welcome and Congress Opener
Keynote Speaker: Clare Balding


Sponsored by:

Don’t Miss

11:40:  An Introduction to Mindfulness in the Workplace
Sean Gilgallon, Citation

Why is everyone talking about mindfulness in the workplace? What is it? How does it help? Are you curious and would like to understand more about the reasoning behind and practical application of mindfulness at work? Sean Gilgallon, Citation, is an experienced mindfulness trainer. In this session, he will interact with delegates to set the scene and provide take away tools to reduce mind wandering and improve focus on the reality of the now. Repeated Saturday 25th, 9:00.

STREAM A: Leadership and Culture, Chair AM: Kathleen Robertson, SPVS, Chair PM:  Richard Casey, VMG

10:40: Emotional Intelligence: What is it, how to Measure and Improve it
Margaret Burnside, Cake People

People talk about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) vs IQ but while there is a standard (if controversial) measurement of IQ few actually define what they mean by EQ, with a general feeling that it is more abstract and therefore not possible to measure.  But EQ has been defined and can be measured.  What’s more contrary to popular myth, it is not a fixed thing.  Once you have measured EQ, you can work on ways to improve it, in yourself and in members of your team.   Margaret Burnside describes the science behind the most widely accepted measure of EQ, the MSCEIT test and how you can use this effectively as a personal development and leadership tool.

Sponsored by:

11:40: Understanding Personalities and Mindset
Penny Barker, VDS Training
and Jodi O’Dell, Engage 

Do you ever wonder what drives you to do what you do and, perhaps more importantly, why others don’t always do what you want them to!

Penny Barker from VDS training will present the benefits and potential pitfalls of using profiling tools with both individuals and teams to improve communication, management and teamwork, using case studies from the profession.

Occupational Psychologist, Jodi O’Dell will build on this, sharing mindset theory and her own research to examine how motivated you, or your team are, and how open to change.

Together they will give you tools and strategies to get the best out of yourself and your team, helping you thrive in a rapidly changing and challenging profession.

14:00: Mindful Leadership Explained
Vicki Curtis, Indigo Square

We all know women are brilliant at multi-tasking while men just can’t get it.  Or do we?  In fact, the evidence is that we are all equally bad at multi-tasking and whatever we do we do better if we give it our whole attention.  And that extends to leadership.  In this session, Vicki Curtis will summarise what she means by mindfulness and how it can be applied to the role of leader, sharing the evidence from both the UK and elsewhere including some very large workplace studies.   In the second session, Vicki Curtis will describe how you can apply the principles in practice to become a better, happier and more fulfilled leader.

15:30: Mindful Leadership Explained
Vicki Curtis, Indigo Square

See above.

STREAM B:  Marketing, Chair:  Ryan Davis, SPVS

10:40: Marketing your practice in 2020
Graham Avent, Director of Marketing, IVC

Are marketing campaigns worth the time and effort?  With suppliers and pharmaceuticals trying to persuade you to run a different campaign every week, which ones really work and how do you execute them effectively?

Graham Avent worked in the car industry before taking up a marketing role with Bath Vet Group.  He is now Director of Marketing at IVC, responsible for strategy and campaign planning across the whole group.  He will describe the key elements of a successful campaign at practice level and how to measure the results.  Most importantly, he will describe the groundwork, leadership and culture that must be in place for any successful marketing effort to be cost effective.

Sponsored by:

11:40: America’s Best Practices and How They Do It
Bash Hallow, Hallow Consulting, New York

Bash is back!  If you have never experienced one of his lectures, make sure you don’t miss this.  He will bring his usual high energy and enthusiasm to a session outlining what some of the best independent clinics in the states have done to attract and keep clients in an increasingly competitive climate.

Sponsored by:

14:00: Pimp up your Pet Health Plans
Charlie Barton, Virtual Recall

Pet Health plans are a focus for the vast majority of practices, but most hit a ceiling in terms of penetration and are also battling attrition.  On average, almost a quarter of new joiners drop out within 3 months and the average lifespan of a client ‘on plan’ tends to be less than two years. We know that a good PHP is hugely beneficial to pets, clients and the practice; a win-win all round.  In this session, Charlie Barton will encourage you not just to concentrate on new sign up numbers, but really focus on retention. They will share the results from several case study practices which identify the key intervention points in the customer journey, putting in place proactive, personalised communications to increase penetration & retention.

Sponsored by:

15:30: Websites that Work (and those that don’t)
Andrew Rastall, Connected Vet

Unless you’re deliriously happy with your practice’s current website then this is a seminar you really shouldn’t miss.  Building a new website tends to be a once every 5 years or so job; if you haven’t redesigned yours for a decade then you probably should!  Andrew Rastall covers what you need to understand when buying and building a website and what you should expect to get for your money.   He will cover how builders cost their websites, what you should get as ‘standard’, what will cost you extra, what you should expect for different budgets, hidden extras to look out for and costs you can’t avoid, and how to decide whether to refresh or rebuild.  He will conclude by demonstrating how your website should integrate with other elements of your marketing mix, to efficiently do the job it was born to do… get you more & better business.

STREAM C:  Wellbeing in Practice, Chair AM: Clare
Balding, Chair PM: Liz Barton, SPVS

10:40: Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace
Susan Dawson, Mind Matters Initiative and Liverpool Vet School; Dan Makin, BVLGBT+; Navaratnam Partheeban, BVEDS; Ebony Escalona, VSGD; Andrew Whitfield-Roberts, White Cross Vets.  Chair: Clare Balding

Do your team all have a sense of belonging?  Quite apart from your legal responsibilities around equality, a feeling of exclusion or otherness – or at worst outright prejudice – can contribute to poor mental health and low performance.   In contrast, a practice with good policies around equality and inclusion, who take this off the page and into day to day management, including their policies around client behaviour, can reap the benefits of a happy, healthy and diverse team. Dan Makin, President of BVLGBT+ will set the scene, sharing both his own and others experience and will outline your legal and personal obligations with respect to equality in the workplace.  Navaratnam Partheeban will also speak from personal experience and as President of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society. They will be joined on the panel by Susan Dawson, Dean of Liverpool Vet School and Chair of MMI, Ebony Escalona who lives with a mental health diagnosis and Andrew Whitfield-Roberts, a male veterinary nurse in a female heavy profession.  They will discuss how together we can work towards a more diverse, equal and inclusive profession.

13:30: Being the leader you and your team need
Caroline Pearson, Progressive Vet Consulting and Wellbeing Award Winners

Good leadership is central to team morale and wellbeing.  So what makes you who you are and how can you be the leader you want to be? We all have a past and, good or bad, it contributes to who we are and our strengths and weaknesses as leaders. Effective people and business leadership relies on exceptional self-leadership. What drives the leader you have become? How can you be the leader you aspire to be? Caroline Pearson will present current leadership thinking and challenge delegates to ask: Are you distracted or focused, selfless or egocentric, confident or diffident and, more importantly, why?  None of these are black and white, but understanding where you might be on the spectrums and how our upbringing and past experience may have influenced this will help you take a step on the journey towards becoming the leader you and your team need.

This is followed by a panel of Wellbeing Award Winners describing their own leadership journeys and styles and what they have learnt about themselves by leading others.

15:30: Civility in Practice
Dan Tipney, VetLed

It is likely that at some point everyone will encounter difficult people at work, but when that person is in a position of authority or seniority and their behaviour is not challenged, they can become a risk.  Not only can their behaviour impact on the wellbeing of others, it can put clients, the team and animals in danger.  Bad behaviour from consultants within the NHS has been recognised and researched and is now being challenged, and the impact on team harmony, productivity and patient safety is coming under scrutiny.  Dan Tipney will share the evidence from within the NHS and campaigns such as ‘Civility Saves Lives’ and considers how best to apply this learning to the veterinary profession.  He will make a strong case for linking wellbeing with both animal safety and quality improvement.

STREAM D:  Our Digital Future, Chair AM: Stuart Saunders, VMG, Chair PM: Ben Sweeney, SPVS

10:40:  The Digital Vet 2025
Guen Bradbury, MRCVS and Greg Dickens,MRCVS, Innovia Technology

Whether or not you’re ready for it, the future of veterinary practice will be digital. What value is there in this shift for vets, nurses, and practice managers? Guen Bradbury and Greg Dickens trained as vets but now work for a large innovation consultancy with blue chip clients from all sectors and have run workshops for RCVS Knowledge.  They will lay out an inspirational vision of the digital benefits and costs of the practice of 2025, and what that might mean for the people that work there and then.

11:40: The Future Pet Owner
Susie Samuel, Vet Help Direct. Chair: Gudrun Ravetz, Simplyhealth Professionals

Vet Help Direct have run several surveys with over 2,000 pet owners, going back to some of them over time and establishing trends.  They have looked at how they behave, their expectations, how they access knowledge and how they communicate – or want to communicate – with their vets.  This has huge relevance to how practices should evolve in terms of the services they offer and how they communicate these to clients.   In this session, Susie will report the key findings from the research and, together with Gudrun Ravetz, from Simplyhealth Professionals, compare these with the experience of those in the audience.

Sponsored by:

13:30: Getting Veterinary Telemedicine Just Right
Thom Jenkins, Gula and Susie Samuel, Vet Help Direct

Thom will share the experience from his telemedicine platform for practices, showing how telemedicine can be used, not to replace in-person consultations, but to provide pet owners with an easy ‘low effort’ access to veterinary expertise that competes with Dr Google or “hoping for the best”. Susie Samuel will share research Vet Help Direct have carried out which suggests pet owners would welcome the opportunity to link up with their own vets on line such as using an app that lets vets run video consultations with their clients and that, far from being a threat to GP practice, telemedicine can offer an additional service to existing clients and bring in new ones. Both agree it’s not about uploading pets to the cloud but rather engaging pet owners in the care of their animal in a way that feels just right to them.

15:30: The Digital Debate
Bash Halow, Susie Samuel, Thom Jenkins, Guen Bradbury and Greg Dickens

A panel made up of some of those at the forefront of new digital thinking and delivery within the vet profession here and in the US, discuss what they think the key challenges will be for practice.  Ben Sweeney will chair and take questions from the audience.

STREAM E: Management Mastery, Chairs:  Mark Gill & Liz Somerville, VMG

Sponsored by:

10:40: Analyse, Plan & Strategise: How to Plan your Business and Projects
Richard Casey, VMG & Blue Cross

How do I approach this? What do I include? I don’t know what’s going to happen next month yet alone in three years!  These are all questions or comments often uttered when discussing business plans. But what if planning of any sort didn’t have to be difficult or fill you with dread? What if planning could actually be fun? Richard Casey, Junior Vice President and Clinical Development Manager at Blue Cross will share simple and straight forward methods to make sense of the environment your operating in, get team involvement, and begin carving up your very own yellow brick road. This session will benefit anyone with an interest in, or responsibility for business plans, strategy or project management, no matter how big or small.

11:40:  Reputation – the answer to recruitment?
Georgina Hills, VMG & IVC

What is reputation and why is it an answer to recruitment? In this session Georgina Hills, VMG Director & Operations Manager for IVC looks at what factors contribute to reputation, how to build your reputation and what this means for the recruitment process. Having worked in both independent and corporate practice and as an examiner for the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management, Georgina has worked with a variety of practices with varying reputations over the years and brings this hands on experience to the session.

12:30: CVPM Update
VMG Certificate & Training Committee

Come and meet the VMG examining board for the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management exam (CVPM). Find out what is involved, are you ready and how you could benefit from the qualification.

14:00: Understanding Profit
John Goulding, Independent Vetcare 

Recent surveys suggest many vet practices are underperforming with respect to profit.  But what is even meant by true profit and how do you measure and track it? Everyone in a management role should be able to read their monthly Profit and Loss (P&L) and yet many are not comfortable with a spread sheet and think this is best left to accountants and book keepers.  In this session, we go back to basics and take apart a typical vet practice monthly P&L, showing you what you should pay attention to and where you can make a difference.  We will show you how to extract the key figures you need to benchmark your profitability and produce the evidence to make business decisions and to start conversations with team members or ask your boss for investment in staff or equipment.

15:30:  Peace in a War Zone:  Managing Conflict in the Workplace
Tracey Morley Jewkes, Willows Referral Services & Veterinary Centre

Peace and harmony at work are things we all want.  Occasionally things go wrong. How do you handle the heat? How do you carve a new path to turn the raging torrent into a stream of serenity and synergy with a few simple questions? How do you transform handbags (or manbags) at dawn into harmony and happiness?  Join Tracey for a few easy tools to add to your kit bag to take some of the more stressful elements of management into a calmer, more effective place… fast!

STREAM F: Exhibitors Showcase

10:40: Digital Marketing for Vet Practices

Five things you need to know for 2020.

11:00:  From your practice – to their door

Learn about the benefits of delivering compliance and bonding clients to your practice with VetDeliver, a new service from MSD Animal Health.

11:20: Norbrook’s Nurse Academy

Norbrook will give a short overview of their regional Nurse Academy CPD days focused on setting up and improving nurses clinics.

11:40: Making a success out of Health Plans – The GKG Vets Story

Elizabeth Wilcox from GKG vets will be talking about the importance of health plans in delivering practice profitability, and how her practice have made health plans a success.

12:00: Your continuum of care with Zeotis

Supporting you with a best in class team with veterinary and business expertise – a partner you can count on.

12:20: Fast Track to Partnership:  Why  young partners are no longer a rare breed

One of Medivet’s youngest Branch Partners, Simon Cook, talks about how flexible partnering solutions are now more important than ever before.

14:00:  Confidence, Compliance and Control

Come along and find out more.

14:20: “Nothing stays the same”

Wearables, implantables – the art of the possible vs practice barriers:- so much data it’s so far beyond the consumers need/ability to consume – apathetic vet sector will frustrate many ambitions – ref. Envoy, VeNom etc. – possibilities of preventive intervention huge if engaged – carrot & stick opportunities if insurers keep their feet on the ground – but price models already complicated & relativities will offset each other.

Telemedicine – an unavoidable development: – shortage of vets – back on the ‘endangered species list’ as of the summer – consumer’s time scarce – way of using  limited vet consultation resource more efficiently – way of charging for tele-consults … which have always taken place in one guise or another – defensive strategies by corporates, also offer offensive recruitment opportunities – challenging sector for independents if corporates get their act together – unless independents ally themselves with corporates or other sector players with big client bases – but multiple sector provision will collide with owner potentially having their vet and insurer offering different tele-consult provision – opportunity to manage the challenging “too much done to pets that just aren’t ill” part of the insurance claims world.

14:40: Vetsure Pet Insurance and Health Plans – the future of veterinary healthcare budgeting

Vetsure are the top-scoring pet insurer on review sites including: trustpilot.com, reviewcentre.com and petinsurancereview.co.uk, working with over 600 practices across the UK. Their products include: pet insurance, pet health plans and buying group services

You can promote Vetsure insurance either on its own or alongside another insurer.  Indeed, you might not be interested in promoting Vetsure at all – however if they believe your practice or referral centre fits in with their ethos and standards they’ll send insured clients your way.

15:30: Building immunity through community
Vet Dynamics

Join the UK’s largest Independent Veterinary community and learn how to get more out of life in practice. Vet Dynamics has helped more than 1,000 independent practices become happier, healthier and more profitable places to work.

Here, Alan Robinson explains why independent practice owners should stick together so that they can thrive in an uncertain future…

15:50: Save time and money dealing with your utility requirements
Full Power Utilities

Full Power are the official utilities partner for SPVS and VMG and have been helping independent veterinary practices across the UK, for over 10 years. Marc Wheatley – UK Channel Manager at Full Power – will be giving us an insight into the confusing world of commercial utilities and will help you pay as little as you possible for the gas, electricity and water you consume. Marc will be discussing:

The commercial utilities market and how to secure the most competitive rates.

The potential pitfalls when securing your utility contracts.

The difference between ‘Green’ and ‘Renewable’ energy and is it cost effective?

How to fend off unwanted sales calls from so-called energy companies!

16:10: Your PMS should help not hinder you

Realtime online booking, reduce phone traffic. Inpatient plans with kennelside recording, less missed records and charges. Easy to use Healthy Pet Plans. Automatic KPI reports. New ways to provide good Broadband in bad areas. Q and A.


08:00: Boehringer Business Breakfast: Behavioural Economics:
What it is and how to use it
Leigh Caldwell, The Irrational Agency

We all like to think that our decisions are based on rational and considered thought.  But behavioural economists will disagree.  In this session, Leigh will gently play with your irrational and rational minds to show how the balance between the two might not be what you are expecting. He will touch on the latest theories about how the different parts of the brain (automatic, rational and imaginative) control our behaviour and look at ways that you might use this understanding when it comes to managing your clients, your team or even family and friends!

STREAM A: Effective Leadership, Chair:  Ashley Gray, VMG

Sponsored by:

9:00: Performance Conversations
Margaret Burnside, Cake People

The effectiveness of Annual – or even 6 monthly – Appraisals is being questioned which might not be what you want to hear just when you’ve finally set up a regular team appraisal system that seemed to be working.  Margaret Burnside looks at the current thinking that suggests regular ‘conversations’ or ‘check ins’ are more effective, weighing this up against the practicalities of managing a busy overstretched clinical and non-clinical team.

9:55: Sleep: A Manager’s Responsibility?
Mike Farquhar, Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust

There is a growing body of evidence to show that lack of sleep is bad for your long-term health with acute sleep loss associated with type 2 diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and cancer.  In the short term, lack of sleep is dangerous; levels of fatigue and sleep deprivation commonly found at the end of night shifts produce a comparable effect as being at the legal drink/drive limit and was cited in the inquest into a recent road accident death of a junior doctor as probably the most important contributing factor.  Mike Farquhar is a sleep expert at Evelina Children’s Hospital, Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust, but he is also passionate about the importance of training health professionals who work night shifts (or who just find sleep difficult) and their managers in the basic physiology of sleep and some simple ways to improve it.

11:20: The Loneliness of the Leader
Penny Barker, RCVS, VDS Training

It can be lonely at the top, particularly if you have moved up within your team.  Overnight you may have had to switch from friend to boss and suddenly you feel you are expected to have all the answers.  In a small team it can be hard to learn that respect is more important than friendship and to step back from the day to day gossip while at the same time not appearing aloof or uncaring.  A good leader offers support and a listening ear to their team, but who do they have as sounding board?  In this session Penny Barker brings her experience as a vet, management consultant and coach, both within and outside the veterinary profession to a consideration of how to make this transition and support yourself in a challenging role. She’ll help you to identify who you need in your corner to coach, mentor, support and inspire you to continue to grow as a leader.

12:15: Practical Ways to Communicate Effectively
Caroline Pearson, Progressive Vet Consulting

For a team to really engage in new ideas, improvements and change, they need to have ownership.  To have ownership, they need to feel they have been fully consulted and informed and their responses and ideas have been listened to.  Things have moved on since the ubiquitous SWOT charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and there are now a wide range of different brainstorming techniques on offer, some more inventive than others.  But what really works in terms of getting your ideas across and allowing everyone on the team to have an equal voice?  Caroline Pearson shares some of her favourites and, to prove that interaction works, she engages the audience to share their top tips for effective and creative team communication.

STREAM B: Profitable Practice, Chair: Suzanne Headington, Hazlewoods

9:00: How to Cost the Options and Measure the Returns
James Harris, White Cross Vets

Investing in a new piece of equipment is exciting and can improve the service you provide to your clients and their pets, but how do you know it is the right decision for the business? Are you outgrowing your premises and want to expand?  Perhaps it is time to refurbish your practice to help drive clinical standards and create amazing workspaces or build an extension to address capacity constraints or even create a space for a new service such as a CT scanner.  If this isn’t practical, you may be looking to relocate or open a feeder branch to capitalise on the local opportunity.  Maybe you don’t even know which of these you want to go for but want to weigh up the options.  For Clinical Directors in a practice owned by a large group, you will have to make the business case.  Owners should go through the same exercise, even although in practice there can be a tendency to let heart rule head.

Sponsored by:

9:55: The Psychology of Price
Leigh Caldwell, The Irrational Agency

One of the most important questions for any business is: how much should I charge? Economics has an easy answer – just look at where demand and supply meet. But the easy answer is wrong: choosing the right pricing strategy is a more complex affair. Should you compare your prices to a benchmark? Offer discounts or maintain an expensive premium image? What about the effect of changing the timing on a payment? And how does a customer’s personal and financial circumstances affect their willingness to pay?  Whether you are a supermarket or a vet practice, price is a psychological issue and you can make the most of that knowledge. Behavioural economist, Leigh Caldwell and author of The Psychology of Price offers his views on how consumers think and purchase, demystifying a critical aspect of running a business and lucidly and logically explaining the science behind pricing and how you can apply that to a service business such as veterinary practice.

Sponsored by:

11:20:  Making the Most of your Labs and Lab Work
Lynn Mckeown, Zoetis

How much billed income goes straight back out the door as lab fees?  Is this something you could be retaining to improve your profitability?  In this session, Lynn Mckeown looks at the steps you need to take to first assess your capability and then to determine the required investment required to increase in-house lab work.  She will also consider how to measure and track the true return on investment. The costs will be in equipment, expansion of your premises, training to upskill your team and/or recruitment. The potential benefits, in addition to increased profit, can be career development, job satisfaction and retention of key team members of your team and a better client service.   She will include case study practices as illustration.

Sponsored by:

12:15:  Working with Charities; making it a win, win
Adam Clowes and Runa Hanaghan Dogs Trust, plus case study

If you have a dog and/or cat rehoming centre in your area, it could provide a good workstream.  A common model for the major charities is a partnership with a local practice, often with a vet and/or nurse running consults and doing minor surgery, neutering etc at the rehoming centre facilities. The contracts will be tendered and are competitive so it may not be the most lucrative work you do, but it can cover the cost of a vet and nurse, help your rotas and provide job satisfaction and foster your community relations. If the pets are rehomed in your catchment area, you are best placed to become their vet of choice.  In this session, Adam Clowes, Operations Director at The Dog’s Trust explains how they work with local practices and what they are looking for in a partner, while a practice that provides the vet service discusses how it works for them and what you should consider before putting yourself forward for this type of contract.

Sponsored by:

STREAM C: Adapt, Improve, Achieve, In partnership with RCVS Knowledge, Chair AM: Jacqui Molyneux, RCVS Knowledge, Chair PM:  Dan Tipney VetLed

09:00: Getting the Team on Board to Own and Deliver Improvement
Shobhan Thakore, Scottish Quality & Safety Fellowship (SQSF)

The SQSF is an international lead level training programme with participants from at Scotland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Norway and Denmark.  Shobhan Thakore is the Clinical Lead for the programme which develops improvement leaders by training them in the underpinning science and in leadership skills to help effect change.  In this session he tells the story of the evolution of a performance culture in the NHS and how Quality Improvement is being used to shift this towards a value based approach. He will outline recent initiatives such as Realistic Medicine in the Scottish NHS as a way to engage staff, manage expectations and deal with increasing fear of litigation. He believes everyone in healthcare has two roles each working day: to do their job delivering healthcare and to improve it.

9:55: Quality Improvement in vet practice: Where the Profession is Right Now?
Tom Ling:  Head of Evaluation and Senior Research Leader at RAND Europe

The recent emphasis on Quality Improvement (QI) in vet practice might suggest that there has been a lack of quality in the past.  Not so says Tom Ling who was commissioned by RCVS Knowledge to look at QI within the profession.  However he feels that systems and protocols do matter in a world where knowledge and expertise is increasing rapidly, new practices are being set up and older ones sold at a rate not seen before and where recruitment and retention is an issue and client expectations are very different to a generation before.  Tom has carried out similar work within human health and is therefore able to make comparisons. He will share the research he carried out and his reflections on what vet practice can learn from the NHS as well as the challenges and opportunities he sees as particular to the veterinary profession.

This will be an interactive session, inviting delegates to share their own views of what QI does and should look like in veterinary practice

11:20: Safety and the Human Factor: thinking differently
Suzette Woodward, Patient Safety Specialist, NHS

Suzette has worked on patient safety in the NHS for 20 years and has contributed to RCVS/NHS One Health events involving the UK veterinary profession. She believes that much of the learning from human health both in the UK and worldwide is transferable and the veterinary profession can learn from their achievements and their mistakes. Suzette looks in particular how the pursuit of patient safety and excellence within the NHS gave rise to an over emphasis on looking for negligence leading to a blame culture, and how they are trying to move on from that.  She will discuss the four levels of staff competence and why the highest level does not necessarily equate to the highest level of safety or excellence.

12:15: Systems Thinking for Safe Practice
Richard Killen and Angela Rayner, CVS

Mistakes in practice can be reduced by having good systems.  For example, ensuring that all animals are clearly identified from the moment they are admitted, will minimise the risk of medication errors, as will storing drugs with similar appearance in different places within the practice.

CVS are embedding quality improvement and systems design throughout their practices, led by former Director of Clinical Services, Richard Killen, and Director of Quality Improvement, Angela Rayner, who is currently studying for a Masters in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors.  This will be a practical session showing what system design looks like in practice.  They will discuss how to embed ‘systems thinking’ within your practice team, encouraging constructive analysis of significant events, as well as daily practices, leading to constant review of audits, checklists, protocols and guidelines.

Richard and Angela will concentrate on small animal practice.  Rachel Dean from Vet Partners will give a parallel lecture on QI in large animal and equine practice, see stream D

14:10:  How we Do It:  Quality Improvement in Vet Practice Case Studies
Louise Northway, Wendover Heights Veterinary Centre; Alison Thomas, Blue Cross; Liz Cox, IVC; Richard Byrne, West Bar Veterinary Hospital. Chaired by Dan Tipney, VetLed

A panel of vets and nurses from very different practices or groups of practices share their first-hand experience of quality improvement in their workplace.  From hand hygiene to temperature management of anaesthetised animals, Liz Cox, Group Nursing Advisor at IVC shares the value of audits, while ‘Lou the vet nurse’ Northway from Wendover Heights VC and Alison Cox, Chief Vet at Blue Cross explain what they did in their practices to become RCVS Knowledge QI Champions.  Richard Byrne, PSS Assessor and vet at West Bar Hospital explains the role his Practice Management System played in QI.  Dan Tipney brings his wide experience of quality improvement and safety from veterinary profession, interviewing the panel and chairing an audience Q&A.

STREAM D:  Equine and Large Animal, Chair: Andrew Parker, SPVS

9:00: Where is the money coming from in Large Animal Practice
Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics and Jenny Bellini, Friars Moors Vets

Responsible anti-microbial use, rising salaries and alternative medicine suppliers are just a few of the financial pressures which may affect the income and expenditure of your large animal practice in 2020 and beyond. With the income shift away from the medicine trail, where should large animal managers focus their attention to ensure their practices adapt and remain profitable? How do you identify and maximise the sustainable profit centres within the business or find new opportunities? Large animal practice is arguably facing greater financial challenges than ever before and hunkering down is unlikely to lead to success. In this session, Alan Robinson will demonstrate how to keep ahead of the challenges and build your wider services before it’s too late. Alan will be joined by Jenny Bellini, Friars Moor Vets, to explain how they have approached the Anti-microbial resistance (AMR)  “financial conflict of interest” with surprising financial results.

Sponsored by:

9:55: Flexitime and Continuity of Care in Equine Practice
Hattie Lawrence, Equine Director, CVS

There is a common misconception that Flexible working means part-time hours for mothers with young children.  In reality there are a great many different forms of flexible working such as full time hours across a working week, but at a time that works for you.  Nor are those requesting flexitime only fitting working hours around childcare; they may be studying for a diploma, training for a triathlon, or looking after their own horse.  In this session, Hattie Lawrence, Equine Director UK for CVS describes some of the options she has seen in equine practice from compressed hours to paid study leave; part time working to week on; week off rotas.   She will describe how to overcome the challenges and explain how Flexible Working can not only benefit employees, it can improve productivity and staff retention, and is our best chance to secure a sustainable workforce for the future.

11.20: Running Successful Equine & Large Animal Client Meetings
Liz Somerville, Loch Levin Equine Practice

Whether you are a new start up practice, looking to expand your catchment area or want to focus on building meaningful relationships to retain your current clients, educational client talks offer a great marketing opportunity for equine and farm practices alike. In this session Liz Somerville will take you through how to build clients talks into your overall marketing strategy, how to market your talks to maximise attendance and build your email list at the same time, as well as making sure your clients go away feeling enthused, engaged and recommending the practice to all their friend.

Sponsored by:

12:15: Quality Improvement: Walking the Talk in Ambulatory Practice 
Rachel Dean, Vet Partners 

Quality Improvement is the new holy grail in veterinary medicine but what does it actually mean?  Chances are you are doing QI already, just not calling it that, so why all the fuss?  In this session, Rachel Dean, Director of Clinical Research and Excellence in Practice at Vet Partners, explains why she believes it is important to formalise QI and bring the whole team on board with an understanding of why it matters.  Rachel worked in mixed, large animal and small animal practice as well as working in referral and research institutes. She took a masters in Evidence Based Healthcare with Oxford University and has spent time working on QI within the NHS.  She will look at the particular challenges faced by ambulatory practice when it comes to improving clinical standards and how these might be addressed.  This will be an interactive session allowing you to share experiences and ideas from others in similar practices. 

STREAM E: Sustainable Practice, Chair:  Ellie West, Davies Veterinary Specialists

9:00: Greening up the Vet Profession: the case for a professional approach
Ellie West, Davies Veterinary Specialists and April Sotomayor, Investors in the Environment

What exactly is sustainability? Is it carbon or waste or both?  And what could and should veterinary practices be focusing on to make the biggest impact? Ellie West is a leading light in veterinary sustainability, campaigning within the wider profession as well as leading by example in her own role at Davies Veterinary Specialists.  She has worked with and been advised by April Sotomayor from Investors in the Environment. Quite apart from the ethical obligations, they believe that sustainability makes good business sense.  From the PR angle, your clients will increasingly want to know you care, as will potential new staff members.  Legally you are obliged to adhere to certain regulations and these will continue to become tougher, and financially, saving energy and waste saves money.  Whether you are a business owner wanting to understand why you should do this, or an employee wanting the ammunition to persuade your boss, Ellie and April have the arguments.

9:55: Sustainability Saves Money: a case study
Clare Topping, Northampton General Hospital

Clare Topping is a Chartered Environmentalist and self-styled ‘Eco Ninja’ who works for Northampton General Hospital as Energy and Sustainability Manager and has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds, and won environmental awards with her campaign to green up the hospital. With a staff of 5,000 over a large site, the challenges are very different to the average vet practice or even large veterinary hospital, but there are still things that can be learnt and built in to every day management of practice.  Her role has to be self-funding and so saving money is a key driver for change, chiefly in energy consumption, but also in better systems for use of disposable items.  She also aims to enthuse and educate hospital staff to encourage greener behaviours.  From recycling crisp packets to greener ways to dry your hands; reordering theatre packs to a genuinely green solution dispensing drinking water, Clare will share some of her tips for greening up and winning hearts and minds.

11:20: Plastic and other Waste: Are you Compliant
Anne Woolridge, Independent Safety Services (ISSL)

Are you confident that you are compliant in waste management?  If so, whose advice are you taking?  Your local waste contractor?  RCVS PSS, the Environment Agency or the Health & Safety Executive?  You have legal, moral and professional obligations in terms of waste management and they are not always in complete alignment.  Rules and regulations also change regularly.

And even if you are putting all the correct waste into the correctly coloured disposal bins and bags, do you know what happens to it once it is collected?  Quite apart from your legal requirements, if you want to try and save waste and save the planet, it is good to understand where your effort will have most impact.  When it comes to medical use of plastic, the picture can be complicated, but by understanding the issues, you can do your bit to help.  Anne Woolridge, an independent advisor in waste medical waste management (human and veterinary) will try to bring some clarity to an increasingly complicated picture.

12:15: How we did it… and won an award!
Ellie West, Davies Veterinary Specialists

Ellie West will share her journey towards putting the principles of environmental sustainability into practice in her own workplace. She will explain how she brought the team and her bosses at a top referral practice with her and the benefits they have seen, from recruitment and retention of staff to customer approval.  She will describe how Davies Veterinary Specialists gained their Silver Level accreditation with Investors in the Environment. She will discuss the challenges and barriers to improving sustainability that you may face in your own practice and offer some positive solutions.

14:10: The Sustainability Q&A
Ellie West, Anne Woolridge,  April Sotomayor and Clare Topping answer your sustainability questions

Sustainability is a key priority for many of us both in our personal lives and at work, but it can be difficult to know where to start and what are the most effective steps to take.  This is your opportunity to quiz three people with some answers, Ellie West from sustainability award winning practice, Davies Veterinary Specialists, Anne Woolridge, waste management advisor, and April Sotomayor from Investors in the Environment who help businesses save money while reducing their environmental impact.

STREAM F: Exhibition Showcase

9:00: Runing video consultations in your practice
Vet Help Direct

The expectations and behaviours of pet owners constantly evolves when it comes to interacting with vet practices online. Vet Help Direct’s recent research findings share the latest insights, and explains why being responsive online is vital for your success.

9:20: Digital Marketing Health Check
Connected Vet

In this 15-minute seminar we’ll trot through the three pillars of digital marketing; Website, Email & Social. We’ll look at each channel for just five minutes and in that crunchingly efficient timescale we’ll introduce you to a simple benchmarking methodology. You’ll leave having rated your practice’s current digital marketing efforts against the Minimum Viable Requirements you should be aiming to meet, in order to market your business both efficiently and successfully.

Independent or corporate, sole practitioner or multi-site practice. You give us 15 minutes of your valuable time and we’ll open your eyes to the art of the possible when it comes to digital marketing in 2020.

9:40: Investing in your team: The importance of Front of House

Most practices are now aware that a practice’s competitive advantage is as much to do with non-clinical skills, across all roles, as it is to do with clinical skills. Competent veterinary receptionists add to the commercial success of the practice in many ways, the most obvious of which relates to the retaining the lifetime value of each new client and patient (£5,000).  A receptionist’s skill, knowledge and motivation to recommend consultations for symptoms and ensure that re-check bookings are captured is a critical part of this commercial success. This talk will explore these examples as part of the return in investment in front in house training

10:00: Mandatory testing – do you know what and when you should be testing

10:20: End of life, but not end of relationship… Supporting clients when they need it most
Silver Pet Prints

Client attrition…16-19% of clients loosing a pet do not go back to same practice.  Re-evaluating end of life best practice.  Compassion as a point of differentiation.  Transforming clients into advocates.

11:20: VisoCare services help vets and nurses better explain and communicate with pet owners
Veterinary Insights

“A picture paints a thousand words”. We’ve all heard this expression, and it’s especially true when you’re trying to explain a treatment or complex procedure that needs to be carried out on someone’s pet. Not only is the person you’re talking to struggling to understand an explanation that includes emotive words such as “surgery”, “treatment” or “medicine”, but on top of that, because the pet owner is emotionally attached to their animal, they are only half listening to you because they are worrying about what will be the impact on their dog or cat.

VisioCare helps overcome this by giving the practice access to thousands of animations and images that a vet or nurse can use to explain exactly what needs to happen, and how it will help the owner’s pet. Whether in the waiting room or the consulting room, we have tools that allow you and your practice team to better communicate to the pet owner, allowing them to come to an informed decision, and as a result the animal gets the treatment it needs. For example, studies show that vet practices that use VisioCare carry out 56% more dentals, resulting in more animals that are healthy and pain-free.

Our systems link in with your existing IT set up, so you don’t need any more equipment, and prices start from just over £1 per user per day.

11:40: Instadose+ Smarter Radiation Monitoring
JAK Marketing

Instant, precise and smarter. Instadose dosimetry is simplifying administration, reducing costs and transforming how staff are monitored and safeguarded from radiation over-exposure. Come and find out more, and the benefits it can bring your practice.

12:00: Is Lase therapy worth the investment?
Photon Surgical Systems – Laser therapy

What is laser therapy, Why class 4, Benefits, Demo Application, Return on Investment (ROI).

Presenting: Laura Harvey Stevens & Georgia Bowkett