GP recognition, CPD and well-being - Veterinary Practice
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GP recognition, CPD and well-being

presents the results of a survey looking at the recognition currently afforded to GP vets, their sense of well-being and their approach to CPD – and identifies a number of issues

A LITTLE over two years ago a
“Community of Practice” was
formed for GP vets and others
interested in Best Evidence
Veterinary Medical Education
(BEVME) as the final part of a
doctoral research project into what
is working and what is not within
veterinary postgraduate education.

The work has clearly shown a
great deal of good being done in the
field but also
a need to
and move on
if we are to
thrive in the

The final
piece of work was a survey looking at
the recognition currently afforded to
GP vets, their sense of well-being
and their approaches to CPD. The
questions are shown in Table 1.

Whilst there are complex causal
loops between these three subjects,
this survey was intended simply to
take a snapshot in time of opinion,
identify challenges and identify
opportunities for action.

One hundred and fifty-six
members of the BEVME community
contributed to the survey and results
were partially triangulated by 35
respondents from SPVS, MRVCS,
Yahoo and Linked-In groups. Results
from BEVME participants are shown
in bold and non-BEVME results are
shown in brackets.


Fifty-eight (68)% of participants felt
that their unique skills as GP vets
were adequately recognised by clients
and 60(62)% felt adequately
recognised by their colleagues.

However, some 49(68)% of
participants did not feel their skills
were adequately recognised by the
profession as a whole (Figure 1).

This is an interesting observation

when the importance of the human
GP was recognised more than 60
years ago by the formation of the
Royal College of General
Practitioners and yet within the
veterinary profession a great deal of
emphasis has been placed on

It was not until 2007 that the
designated certificate, the
CertAVP(VetGP), was formally recognised by the RCVS and it
remains the only GP certificate to
have gained this recognition.

Seventy-one (76)% of
participants (Figure 2) felt that there
was a need for the unique skills of
the GP vets to be better recognised
and the call to action must be to
focus more attention
in this direction and
address this need.


As has been
highlighted elsewhere,
this is an area of
particular concern for
the profession. When
asked when they felt
stressed, 62(63)% said
either frequently or
much of the time.

Having a sense of
autonomy is also very
important for well-
being and when asked
how often they felt in control of
their professional lives, nearly half,
47(52)%, said either never or just
occasionally. Only 31(26)% of
respondents felt in control “much of
the time”.

These figures add another voice
saying that this is a set of challenges
that we need to face and soon.


The remainder of the short survey
looked at how members of the BEVME community and the
wider profession approached
their CPD.

Interestingly, whilst 17(15)%
felt they planned their CPD
vigorously and 59(53)% felt they
planned moderately, between a
quarter(BEVME) 23% and a
third (non-BEVME)(32)%
indicated that they planned their
CPD only vaguely or not at all.

Whilst 77(68)% indicated
they planned their CPD
rigorously or moderately, it was
intriguing that, when asked
whether they critically evaluated
the CPD available to them,
some 38% of BEVME
members and (48)% of non-
BEVME members approach
was to “See what comes along”
rather than carefully selecting
CPD, 53(52)%, with 9% of
BEVME members taking an
alternative approach.

Within the survey we also
obtained a substantial quantity of
qualitative data relating to the most important criteria
used to plan and
evaluate CPD. It is
not possible in an
article of this size to
discuss these answers
in detail but a taste of
what was said is given
in the wordle images

Wordles are
representations of the
frequency of
appearance of words
within a body of text.

World 1 represents the answer to question 5: What
are the five most important (in ranked order) criteria you use when
planning your CPD?, Wordle 2
represents the answers to question 6:
What are the five most important (in
ranked order) criteria you use when
evaluating available CPD?

The survey also explored people’s
wishes with regard to improving their
CPD and their professional lives, due
to the variety and complexity of
these responses they will not be discussed here.

This snapshot survey confirms what we probably already knew about
wellness issues within the profession.
It has highlighted an issue to be
addressed within the profession
regarding the recognition of the GP
vet that demands further discussion
and it provided a useful insight into
approaches to CPD and how they
might potentially be improved.

If you are interested in getting
involved with the BEVME
community, would like further details
about the survey or would like to ask
any questions about the areas
covered, feel free to e-mail

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