2019 Vet Wellbeing Award winners announced

24 January 2020

The winners of the 2019 Vet Wellbeing Awards have been announced today (Friday 24 January 2020) as part of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) and Veterinary Management Group (VMG) Congress, at Celtic Manor, Newport.

Launched in 2016, with the first Awards made in 2017, and are run by the Society for Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) in partnership with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Mind Matters Initiative (MMI).

They aim to highlight positivity within the veterinary professions, which are known to have relatively high levels of work-related stress and poor mental health, by celebrating and sharing initiatives from veterinary workplaces that are demonstrating their commitment to improving staff wellbeing. The Awards also aim to provide a structured approach to help practices to evaluate their own wellbeing support systems and processes.

The winner of the Large Practice category for the 2019 Vet Wellbeing Awards is Willows Veterinary Centre & Referral Service based in Solihull in the West Midlands.

Sophie Aylett was one of the judges for the Awards and works at Meadows Farm Vets, a previous Vet Wellbeing Award winner. She said of Willows’ entry: “Overall the standard of entries this year was very high, making it interesting to judge so many varied and innovative wellbeing ideas. In particular, the winning entry used an honest narrative style giving plenty of examples of free and investment-worthy ideas, from monitoring staff interaction with how information is disseminated and making adjustments accordingly, to ensuring personal contact is part of day-to-day culture despite cutting-edge IT systems.”

The winner of the Medium Practice category is Vets4Pets Northampton, for an entry that demonstrated that wellbeing was embedded into day-to-day life at the practice.

Paul Pollard, Head Vet at Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital, a previous Wellbeing Award winner and one of the judges for the Awards, said of their entry: “The practice put a lot of detail into their application and really sold what it does as a team. This makes me think that the team is very proud of what it does and has a good culture within the practice. Wellbeing seems to be embedded within the practice culture rather than an add-on. Having Mental Health First Aiders, a wellbeing magazine, wellbeing committee and participating in Mind’s Time to Talk Week is testimony to this.”

Finally, the winner of the Small Practice category is Blue Cross Animal Hospital Hammersmith, based in West London.

Cat Curtis, Award judge and SPVS President, said of its entry: “Once again this year the quality of the award entrants was stepped up and choosing between the practices in the small category was particularly hard. The winner though stood out because they went the extra mile for all the criteria. They showed that, even with relatively little budget, you can create an amazing place to work and that it’s collective leadership and collective responsibility which makes it happen.”

In addition to the winners, three practices were highly commended for their entries:

  • Watkins & Tasker, Bristol (Medium Practice)
  • Bath Veterinary Group (Large Practice)
  • White Cross (Large Practice)

The winners of the Awards this year will also take part in a panel chaired by Caroline Pearson from Progressive Vet Consulting at 1.30pm on Saturday 25 January on ‘Being the leader you and your team need’. This is part of the MMI stream at the Congress chaired by Clare Balding, where other sessions will include ‘LGBT+ in Practice’, ‘Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace’ and ‘Civility in Practice’.

The full results, together with details of the winning practices and highly commended entries, will be published on the Vet Wellbeing Awards website.

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