Making information accessible - Veterinary Practice
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Making information accessible

Dr Shams Mir provides an update on progress towards establishing a union.

The appearance of Vets4BVU at the BSAVA congress in April was a landmark achievement for the campaign to establish a new organisation, the proposed British Veterinary Union, with the exclusive objective of looking after the welfare of veterinary professionals, individually and collectively.

One of the most important objectives for Vets4BVU to appear at this national event was to make itself available to face up to any questions from all members of the profession.

Surprisingly, not so many of those critical of the campaign grabbed the opportunity to make their point heard. Only a handful of these colleagues did rise to the occasion, often expressing a degree of anger.

One common antidote offered by many of them against the problems faced by vets and nurses was: “Just don’t work for bad employers.” In other words, let such employers carry on with employees taking turns to work for them!

It is important to mention that a number of supporters of the campaign managed to visit the stand. Some quietly whispered a “well done” while others had many positive thoughts to share. The partners or practice principals amongst them had particularly interesting remarks to make.

One partner said that over the past year or so she had received letters from BVA and SPVS like never before, appearing to have for the first time ever started to address the real issues! She thought that the proposed union was already having an impact by keeping employment issues on the agenda. In an atmosphere where a significant number of visitors, rushing through the aisles to grab a lunch bag, ice cream or coffee, appear more

focused on the goodies to grab or lotteries to try the luck on, seeking out the right audience is a challenging task. But Vets4BVU representatives managed to exchange a word or two with and hand out a leaflet to over a thousand passers-by – some vets, many nurses and many more student nurses.

It appeared that in spite of extensive debate in the veterinary press over the past two years, there is not a great deal of awareness about the subject of the proposed British Veterinary Union – a striking finding but not totally unexpected. Obviously, a significant proportion of the vets and nurses don’t feel tempted to read the letters or politically-orientated topics in veterinary periodicals. Quite likely for the reason that such letters and articles generally do not deal with their concerns.

In view of the above, the Vets4BVU steering group decided that there was an urgent need to collate as much information as possible published in veterinary periodicals about the subject of the proposed union for easy access to all members of the profession. Subsequently, a lot of work has gone into making this information available.

Significant collection

A significant collection of relevant letters, articles and reports covering both sides of the argument are now easily accessible on the Vets4BVU website –

This is a developing website run and funded exclusively by ordinary vets and nurses with the welfare of vets and nurses at the heart of its agenda and completely independent of any commercial objectives and influences.

The website is designed not only to serve as a source of information for everybody but also offers the facility of discussion on subjects of mutual interest and the possibility of registering with Vets4BVU.

It is quite possible that some members of the profession may not personally feel the need for a new organisation but good professionalism demands that all members care about each other.

Feeling pain

If we claim to be members of the same profession, how can it be acceptable for anyone not to feel the pain of those who make the statistics of the unparalleled levels of stress, anxiety, mental health problems and suicides in our profession?

If a finger hurts, how can the rest of the body not feel the pain?

Therefore, it is high time that all members of the profession, regardless of their rank or position in the profession, join hands to create a complementary futuristic organisation which will take up the exclusive responsibility of looking after us and our coming generations’ welfare as veterinary professionals.

To learn more about the Vets4BVU campaign or to join in, please visit

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