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Perceptions of clients and veterinarians on what attributes constitute ‘a good vet’
  1. R. J. Mellanby, BSc, BVMS, PhD, DSAM, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS1,
  2. S. M. Rhind, BVMS, PhD, FRCPath, FHEA, MRCVS1,
  3. C. Bell, BVetMed, PhD, MRCVS1,
  4. D. J. Shaw, BSc, PhD2,
  5. J. Gifford1,
  6. D. Fennell, BVSc, MRCVS3,
  7. C. Manser, BVSc, PhD, CertWEL, MRCVS4,
  8. D. P. Spratt, VetMB BSc, PhD, CertVC, MRCVS5,
  9. M. J. H. Wright, BA, VetMB, CertSAM, MRCVS6,
  10. S. Zago, MSc, MRCVS7 and
  11. N. P. H. Hudson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEIM, DipVetClinStud, MRCVS1
  1. Veterinary Teaching Organisation, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  2. Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  3. Cromwell Veterinary Group, 36 St John's Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3DG
  4. Stone Lane Veterinary Clinic, Stone Lane, Meldreth, Royston, Hertfordshire SG8 6NZ
  5. Parkside Veterinary Group, 5 Kings Cross Road, Dundee, Angus DD2 3PT
  6. Swayne and Partners, 34 Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2AZ
  7. Mill House Veterinary Surgery and Hospital, 20 Tennyson Avenue, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE30 2QG
  1. E-mail for correspondence richard.mellanby{at}

The perceptions of veterinarians and small animal (SA) clients on what attributes constitute ‘a good veterinarian’ were examined by a questionnaire survey. The respondents were asked to record how important they considered 20 attributes for a veterinary surgeon to have on a five-point scale from ‘not at all important’ to ‘very important’. In addition, they were asked to list which attributes they considered to be the three most important attributes in a veterinary surgeon; finally, they were asked whether there were any additional attributes that they considered to be highly desirable in a veterinary surgeon. In total, 407 SA clients, 243 SA veterinarians and 61 non-SA veterinarians completed the questionnaire. There were significant differences in the proportion of clients who considered an attribute to be ‘very important’ compared with SA veterinarians for 12 of the 20 attributes (P<0.005). A larger proportion of clients considered ‘confidence’, ‘knowledge about veterinary medicine and surgery’, ‘cleanliness’, ‘good at explaining technical terms’, ‘patience’, ‘clear about cost of treatment’, ‘ability to work in a team’, ‘honesty’, ‘politeness’, ‘decisiveness’, ‘good with animals’ and ‘good practical skills’ to be ‘very important’ attributes than the SA veterinarians; a larger proportion of SA veterinarians considered ‘good communication skills’ to be a ‘very important’ attribute than the clients.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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