GLASGOW. My home town, my college, and host to the BVA’s annual congress this September (23rd to 25th). I know you might expect every BVA president to say this of his or her congress, but 2010 really does promise to be one of the best yet.
To my mind, the great thing about the BVA is its capacity to listen to members and, more importantly, to respond to what we hear. Through this mechanism for feedback we developed the highly-successful contracts of employment campaign and, more recently, we introduced the mediation and representation services, which featured in last month’s Veterinary Practice.
After 2009’s excellent Congress in Cardiff, you told us that you wanted more high-quality clinical CPD. So this year the very best of Scotland’s veterinary scientific establishments have come together to design a clinical CPD programme that delivers across a wide range of species, diseases and practical skills. The programme has been devised by the University of Glasgow’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Moredun Research Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, and Scottish Agricultural College and brings together leading national and international speakers.
Sessions such as Saturday’s “Safeguarding veterinary and public health” get to the core of my theme for this year’s congress, Vets and the Public Good. It’s something that I’ve talked about a lot in these pages and something that is very close to my heart, having spent more than 30 years in public health.
The ever-popular Wooldridge Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Professor Stuart Reid, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, on the same topic – “Vets and the public good: the broader perspective”. The lecture will explore the many roles performed by veterinary surgeons that positively contribute to society, and asks whether the public, and indeed the profession itself, should be acknowledging this broader contribution.
The public good theme is evident throughout the contentious issues stream with sessions tackling dangerous dogs, antibiotic resistance, and the links between animal abuse and domestic violence. For those of you called upon to act as a witness of fact or an expert witness, Friday’s session “Innocent until proven guilty” will guide you through these difficult roles as well as examining how they differ.
On Saturday morning, the UK’s four CVOs will take to the platform to answer your questions. This is your chance to directly influence the discussions in Whitehall, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont and an opportunity to ensure that we can collectively address topical issues.
The non-clinical CPD stream underlines the BVA’s commitment to veterinary surgeons’ health and welfare. Communication, management, and the ability to work under pressure are all areas where vets at every level can learn new skills and improve their work/life balance.
There will be an interactive session teaching advanced skills to get the most out of your job and your team and a detailed session on everything you need to know about employment law. We’re also delighted to have sessions organised by the Veterinary Benevolent Fund and the BVA’s Overseas Group.
Finally, I must mention the social programme, because the importance of congress as a networking event (and an enjoyable experience) should not be overlooked. It also gives me the opportunity to draw your attention to some of the incredible architecture of Glasgow, from the historical and imposing grandeur of the City Chambers where we host Thursday’s welcome civic reception, to the stunning red sandstone Kelvingrove Art Gallery, situated in Kelvin Park, where we hold Saturday’s banquet.
I’m incredibly proud of the programme we’re offering you this year and I hope you’ll enjoy the changes we’ve made and the sessions we’ve added in response to your feedback.
Remember that BVA members get a substantial discount on registration and if you book before 30th June you will also receive a further 10% discount, so please take a look at our congress website for more information: www.bva.co.uk/congress