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Graham Hunter (left), Nicola Kerbyson (centre) and Derek Knottenbelt OBE (right) at the Excellence in Equine congress in Glasgow

Graham Hunter (left), Nicola Kerbyson (centre) and Derek Knottenbelt OBE (right) at the Excellence in Equine congress in Glasgow

Equine Vets Highlight Excellence In Practice Across Two-day Congress In Glasgow

4 weeks ago

5th February, 2024 16h43

IVC Evidensia UK & IE

An equine congress uniting 120 delegates across first opinion ambulatory and hospital practices took place over the 16-17 January in Glasgow, celebrating “Excellence in Equine Practice” across the IVC Evidensia network. 

The congress had a distinctly Scottish theme, hosted by Nicky Kerbyson an Equine Clinical Director from Avondale Vets in Lanarkshire and Graham Hunter, a renowned equine practitioner who works across the IVC Evidensia Equine group as a Regional Head of Equine. 

The event was split into separate vet, nurse and practice manager streams, with relevant panel sessions featuring senior leaders such as Gayle Hallowell, Daniella Dos Santos and Liz Cox to name a few. 

Delegates were also treated to an appearance by keynote speaker Professor Derek Knottenbelt OBE, who reflected on his long and distinguished career in equine medicine. He talked about the changes he had seen in his career, and advised practitioners to stay strong, stay positive and never give up.

If that wasn’t enough, a ceremony entitled the ‘Good Yin Awards’ also took place, celebrating examples of excellence across the group and honouring those who had performed charitable or good deeds in the previous year.

Sponsorship was generously provided by IMV Imaging, Zoetis, MSD Animal Health and Dechra.

Mark Tabachnik, UK Head of Equine for IVC Evidensia, commented on the success of the event:

“Our Congress brought together equine vets, nurses, practice managers and support staff from right across our network to learn and grow together.  We’ve created a really strong team feeling and sense of togetherness that will help us thrive in challenging times.”

Open and honest panel discussions

Panel discussions included a whole host of relevant topics to the equine profession, including the main issues affecting equine practices in the UK.

Nicky Kerbyson, Clinical Director of Avondale Veterinary Group, led the discussion and noted common answers including recruitment and retention, the cost-of-living crisis, work/life balance and profitability, amongst other factors.

Gayle Hallowell, Director of Professional Development for IVC Evidensia, said we can play a role in shaping a good positive future by giving good extramural studies experiences, and Daniella Dos Santos, Director of Professional Culture, added that it was time to think outside the box with our use of flexible working, so that requests were judged on the needs of the business and the individual. 

The underutilisation of nurses in equine practice was covered by Liz Cox, who said there is a real opportunity and a real appetite amongst the profession to upskill our nursing teams. 

Graham Hunter, an experienced equine practitioner and UK South-East Regional Equine Head added that we should be using our nurses as much as we can, and that vets don’t need to keep these jobs in their domain. 

“Good people" honoured at awards ceremony

The congress featured a novel way of celebrating personal successes with IVC Evidensia members invited to vote in the Good Yin Awards – an old Scottish phrase for “Good People”.

This year there were two awards given. Mhairi Young, a Clinical Director from MBM Veterinary Group in Kilmarnock won the Inspirational Moments award. 

This was in recognition of her Charity fundraising efforts, submerging herself in freezing cold water for the first 24 days in December. Mhairi went swimming in the sea from Irving Beach in aid of Cancer Research, raising over £12,000 for charity in the process.

Similarly honoured, Forth Valley Equine Vets won the Practice Moment Good Yin awards for their teamwork in treating a horse with colic, involving a visit and examination in a field by vet Ian Rodger, in the dark at the side of a loch without electricity, and a referral in a lorry driven by Stacy Davies, the practice manager.

First-class conference

There was a great deal of positive feedback from delegates in attendance, who all benefitted from the equine specific CPD, panel discussions and networking elements.

Rhianna Petrie, Practice Manager from Cliffe Equine Hospital, said:

“It was brilliant. I didn't realise quite how refreshing an equine focused CPD would be and have come away feeling re-energised, with a real sense of camaraderie.” 

Jamie Wallace, Clinical Director from MBM Vets in Kilmarnock, added:

“This was a first-class conference with an amazing programme.”

If you would like to find out more about IVC Evidensia Equine Vets, you can head over to the website here.

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