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I have been watching over the past few weeks the reaction of the veterinary profession to the Covid-19 pandemic. Events bring out the best and the worst in people. We have had the likes of Captain Tom Moore alongside the toilet roll, pasta and sanitiser hoarders. In our profession we have witnessed practices helping each other out that wouldn’t normally do so but we’ve also seen a public spat between a division and the BVA.
I am a member of the BVA and two divisions currently, and I’m sure I won’t be alone in considering their worth after this pandemic eases.
I do not think anyone would doubt the leadership and lobbying we have seen from the BVA and the RCVS in recent weeks and we need to value this going forward. One we must be a member of, the other we choose. Membership of other professional organisations is also a choice, often dependent on the direction our careers take us.
However, it strikes me that, as a profession, we need to come together, and I fear the very structure of our organisations is impeding us from doing this. It is now 10 years since the BVA restructured its council very successfully, so that it had not only divisional but also regional representation. However, the very name BVA divisions raises questions in my mind about a lack of unity.
Since the time of my graduation, 25 years ago, when it was expected that you became a member of the BVA in order to be able to join a division, we have seen competition for membership and attendance at CPD events grow to a point that is surely not sustainable in the long term for our profession. Some divisions now take non-BVA members as members of their own. I don’t decree that we should abandon specialist divisions but perhaps we should look on them more as BVA clubs, societies, associations or even BVA subcommittees. Exploring where all the organisations overlap and could work ‘better together’ must be in the interest of every single veterinary surgeon in the country – and what a time to do it! We do need a strong voice to lobby for us but we are in danger of losing the very core of our representation if we don’t reorganise how we are represented.
I believe now is the time for us to put aside the egos present in some divisions and make a real stand for the betterment of the profession,s to ‘stand united’ for fear of ‘divided we fall’.
Now is the time for us to put aside the egos present in some divisions and make a real stand for the betterment of the profession
We need a more agile and flexible approach to our representation. I would encourage members of our great profession to ask the BVA and the current divisions for a pan-profession survey of how we want our representation to look like in the future.
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