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In this week’s VetCrunch news roundup, we discuss the handover of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital to a private provider, congratulate the University of Nottingham on becoming AVMA-accredited, and share how you can become the next BVA president!

Victoria’s Only Teaching Hospital Handed Over to Private Provider by Melbourne University (Aus)

Following the proposed closure of the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital discussed in this edition of the VetCrunch newsletter, the University has now announced that it will hand over the hospital’s operation to the private provider: Greencross Pet Wellness Company. This comes after the hospital staff voiced concerns to the Fair Work Commission over the closure proposal. 

The team of Victoria’s only teaching hospital is facing redundancy or having to fight to re-apply for their jobs. 

“If I do want to re-apply for the new hospital I will have to apply along with everybody else … we don’t know how many positions there are so I could potentially be jobless in 2023,” said Taylor Reader, who has been a U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital Employee for four years.

“A week before Christmas, [to hear] I will potentially be jobless next year, it’s quite stressful. … It’s going to be a very stressful new year”.

University of Melbourne The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch president Annette Herrera said that “A university with billions in funding that purports to be for the public good needs a higher standard of transparency, accountability to its staff, students, alumni and community … We call on the university to ensure redundancy packages are honoured for those who want to leave.”

Why Should You Care?

Is this one bad decision rolled into another? Or an absolute coup from Greencross – the facility with such close links to the vet school pretty much hands them a direct pipeline into the graduate talent pool?

The benefits of which would seem very hefty given the competition for jobs. But is this a fair playing field when a publicly listed company gets to swim so far upstream in a talent pipeline intended to meet the needs of all players in the state?

No doubt the loss-making nature of the location will require some attention from the new owners which could well mean at best changes to efficiencies and pricing, at worst (depending on your perspective) redundancies. 

One thing is likely true: the retention of the service is likely to be generally welcomed.

Click here to read the full article.

AVMA To Discuss Potential Mid-Level Veterinary Position, Workplace Culture, and Professional Development (USA)

On January 6 to 7th 2023, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates (HOD) will hold the winter Veterinary Information Forum (VIF) to discuss some key topics.

One such topic is workplace culture and its impact on well-being and staff retention – including practical steps to be more considerate towards the well-being of veterinary staff, as well as their mental health. This will mean finding effective solutions for addressing toxic behaviors and increasing accountability. 

They will also discuss engagement, veterinary roles (both existing and potential new ones), and the professional development of support staff. According to the AVMA website, this means answering the following questions: “How can veterinary medicine further scale and support AVMA-accredited educational programs for veterinary technicians? Can practices also more fully use the talents of veterinary technician specialists?”

Another key question that they will aim to answer comes after the suggestion by some of “creating a midlevel position that straddles the roles of certified veterinary technicians and veterinarians…”.  This has been viewed as ill-advised by a portion of the veterinary community, meaning that the HOD will be discussing “What needs to be considered before a midlevel position might be contemplated for veterinary medicine?

Why Should You Care?

That the word “Culture” is gaining traction and becoming more common as we track the pulse point of the general veterinary conversation. As we pointed out in our Leadership Actions and Their Impact on Veterinary Practice Culture Study 2021, toxic interactions are the number one issue that degrades culture. So any and all efforts to improve the ability of individuals to address such matters are highly welcome. 

As to the creation of a new nurse mid-level role… we’ll leave that hot potato for others to chew on. But we don’t quite see the point when there isn’t even a consensus on what to call technicians or vet nurses. 

We’re not even close to using them effectively in the field. Would it not be a far better way to expend energy to make progress in utilizing our vet nurses better and paying them more as they become more skillful? 

Vet nurses/technicians rock. We should be doing everything in our power to create better roles, upskill these heroes and make the role more engaging. Does kicking off a giant argument about a proposal that further blurs lines around “what a vet nurse is” gets any of this accomplished faster?

We’ll leave that to you to decide. And we remain open to being schooled if we’re ignorant of the deeper issues. 

For the full list of proposed policy changes, click here to read more on the AVMA website. Click here to read the full article.

The University of Nottingham Becomes One of Three English Veterinary Colleges to Be AVMA Accredited (UK / USA)

The AVMA Council on Education (COE) granted full accreditation to The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in Nottingham, England. This decision was made in the COE’s Sept. 18-20 Meeting.

This means that Nottingham graduates will be able to take the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, which is required for being licensed in the U.S. and Canada. This university was accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in 2011.

Founding dean of the veterinary school and professor of Comparative Veterinary Reproduction, Dr. Gary England, commented on this accreditation: “I am delighted that the Council on Education have determined that our school meets the requirements for AVMA accreditation … We started our program with the first intake of students in 2006, and it has always been our aim to reach this milestone of quality benchmarking.”

This achievement means that Nottingham is the third English veterinary school to gain accreditation and the 17th one outside of the United States and Canada. Anybody who graduated from the University of Nottingham after June 17th, 2022 is considered a graduate of an AVME COE-accredited college.

Why Should You Care?

Terrific news for Nottingham Vet School and no less than it deserves after breaking the mold for what vet education can evolve into. Further recognition also of the quality level available in British Universities. 

The only fly in the ointment is… the accreditation will open the doors to a higher number of course places allocated to lucrative overseas students which in turn reduces the number who will eventually graduate and want (or be legally able) to work in the UK after graduation. Still, credit where it’s due. 

Click here to read the full article.

Could You Be the Next BVA President? (UK)

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is beginning its search for the person who will be its president in 2024. Applications are open until the 16th of January 2023, and the association has said that they are looking for “energy, enthusiasm, experience, and passion from someone who will represent and champion the views and interests of BVA members and the wider UK veterinary profession to government, politicians, and the media; forge and maintain excellent relationships with BVA’s stakeholders; and lead on a portfolio of priority issues.”

The successful candidate will be Junior Vice President for a year starting September 2023, BVA President in 2024, and Senior Vice President in 2025. This commitment will also require serving as a past president of the BVA Council (with meetings four times per year) for three years.

Commenting on the election and role, current BVA President Malcolm Morley said “It’s a huge honour to champion what’s really important to BVA members and the UK veterinary profession to key stakeholders both in the UK and on the international stage.

“Being a BVA Officer is hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding and you’re well supported by the BVA team on everything from policy to media work. I would urge anyone who has a passion for animal health and welfare, and our wonderful veterinary profession, to consider putting themselves forward to join our Officer team.”

If you would like to apply for the position, you can find the application form here.

Why Should You Care?

The BVA is our (UK vets) collective representative voice allowing us to speak audibly and with clarity on matters that need such attention. To stand at the head of this organization is a huge responsibility, but also an honor. For all those UK vets reading who believe they have something to offer – and of course, learn – this could be an awesome opportunity to contribute. 

Check out the full article here. The job description can be found here.

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