BSAVA Summit Programme

Summit delivers CPD differently to other veterinary meetings, with most sessions run as facilitated workshops enabling delegates to lead and shape discussions.

On each day delegates can choose to attend three out of a total of five workshops. Take a look below to see the different workshops, topics for debate, and the selection of industry leaders who will be facilitating each session. 

Each day will also begin with high profile, non-veterinary keynote speakers giving a keynote seminar to encourage a wider range of thinking. Dr. Graham Easton, a general practitioner and GP Appraiser in North West London, medical journalist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, will be providing a thought-provoking start to the first day. Colonel Alison McCourt, Chief Nursing Officer (Army), will deliver an inspiring keynote on the second day.

Keynote Speaker, Day one

Dr Graham Easton

Dr Easton will deliver the Profession Today keynote - drawing comparisons and insights between the veterinary and human medical professions.

Graham is an academic GP and medical journalist with a particular interest in the links between veterinary and human medicine. Graham has presented several BBC Radio programmes exploring the One Health concept including The Vet Will See You Now (2015), and The Evidence: Should Vets and Doctors Work More Closely Together? (2017), as well as presenting Radio 4’s medical programme Case Notes, Pick of the Week, and being a regular guest on the World Service global health programme Health Check. As an editor at the British Medical Journal he also edited a special joint edition of the BMJ and the Veterinary Record on Human and Animal Health in 2005.

Graham is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at Imperial College Medical School where he was a Programme Director for GP Specialty Training. He serves on the editorial board of the British Journal of General Practice, and has recently published a book for a general audience called The Appointment – the story of a morning surgery told from inside the mind of a GP, which was selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

Keynote Speaker, Day two 


Chief Nursing Officer (Army)

Alison will deliver the Profession Tomorrow keynote - with a talk titled 'Standing up for your profession.'

Alison will be sharing her experiences of leadership in very challenging situations where medical and humanitarian care were thrown into a political and media spotlight during the Ebola Crisis in Africa. The care delivered in the treatment centre she led, changed global protocols and improved care in Africa and Alison and her team pushed the boundaries to deliver it.

Colonel Alison McCourt joined the Army in 1988. Following nurse training and service within the ranks in the United Kingdom and Germany, Alison was selected for commission in the QARANC in 1994. She subsequently undertook specialist training in Emergency Nursing at Leeds University and since then has undertaken a number of Clinical, Regimental and Staff appointments. Alison has deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Sierra Leone. Following her deployment to Bosnia as the Senior Nursing Officer of the hospital she was awarded the honour of Associate Royal Red Cross for her work in that operational role.

Following a decade of promotions and staff appointments, Alison assumed Command of 22 Field Hospital in July 2013 and deployed the Unit to Sierra Leone on Op GRITROCK in Oct 14. She was awarded an OBE for the Unit’s performance on Op GRITROCK. On promotion to Colonel in Dec 2015, she was assigned as the principal AH in the newly established Senior Health Advisor Department within Army Headquarters. In addition to her primary role, she was appointed Chief Nursing Officer (Army) in 2018.

Day 1: The profession today


Topics to consider

Workforce and the profession
with Kit Sturgess

(Long Room)

What is the current and future structure of small animal healthcare? Is critical event horizon in sight? Is part-time working the future? Does the profession need workforce management?

Specialism and the profession
with Rachel Dean

(Linacre Room)

What has and what will specialism bring to the veterinary profession? Should the users of specialists take a larger role in training them? Is elitism self-perpetuating in the veterinary profession? How do we retain client choice in a specialist led setting? 

Telemedicine and the profession
with Anthony Roberts (+ Renate Weller)

(Dorchester Library)

How does pet insurance deal with telemedicine? Does telemedicine solve client compliance? Can telemedicine deliver better care to more? How do we deal with Dr Google? 

Advanced practitioners and the profession
with Sheldon Middleton

(Sloane Room)

So you’re an AP: what next? Clinical experience versus EBM – where does the balance lie? Should APs do more or fewer tests than GPs? How should we train APs? 

Regulation: a force for good?    
with Lizzie Lockett

(Council Chamber)

What does society want from a regulated profession? If the profession became unregulated tomorrow, which bits would you keep on a voluntary basis? How can regulation promote the development of the profession?

Day 2: The profession tomorrow

Communication and culture in practice
with Catherine Oxtoby

(Dorchester Library)

How do we communicate risk? Misinformation in the age of information. How do you develop the culture in your practice (even if you don’t own it)? How to get your corporate to change its policy? What drives practice forward? How do we balance management of a business, client expectations, veterinary expectations and clinical need?

Innovation and research in practice
with Renate Weller (+ Anthony Roberts)

(Linacre Room)

Where does innovation come from and how do we adopt and use it? How can we manage change in practice? Encouraging research in practice – how should this be done? How to ask and answer a good question about a clinical problem.

Over diagnosis in practice
with Robin Hargreaves

(Sloane Room)

Is over diagnosis a problem? Early diagnosis: does it benefit patient care? Business development versus patient care. How can we empower vets not to over diagnose?

Over treatment in practice
with Polly Taylor

(Long Room)

Is over treatment a problem? How do we decide when not to? The art of doing nothing. Do we need an Institute of Small Animal Veterinary Excellence (ISAVE) to reduce over treatment? Can we empower vets not to over treat?

Veterinary controversies
with Sophie Adamantos

(Council Chamber)

Topics from the Post Congress Board on the first day will form the basis of this workshop.

Workshop facilitators

Sophie Adamantos


Sophie graduated from Liverpool before Google existed. She completed a certificate in anaesthesia at the Animal Health Trust and a residency in ECC at the Royal Veterinary College. She is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She spent nearly 20 years in academia training undergraduates, residents and leading internship programmes before moving to Paragon referrals as Clinical Director. Sophie hates dogma and eminence and tries to promote rational and pragmatic use of evidence in veterinary emergency medicine.

Rachel Dean


Rachel is a graduate from University of Glasgow and has worked in mixed, dairy and small animal general practice. She is holds the RCVS diploma in feline medicine, has a PhD in epidemiology and an MSc in Evidence-based Healthcare. She was the founding director of the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor in Feline Medicine at the University of Nottingham from 2009-2018. Rachel is currently the Director of Clinical Research and Excellence in Practice and co-chairs the clinical board for VetPartners. Rachel is responsible for supporting the clinical teams to constantly improve standards of care across the business and encourage clinical leadership through research, innovation and professional development. 

Robin Hargreaves


Robin was brought up on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales and has been in full time general practice since graduating from Liverpool veterinary school in 1985. For the last 29 years Robin has been a partner and then a director in a mixed practice in Colne in East Lancashire dealing exclusively with the companion animal side of our mixed semi ritual practice. Between 2012 and 2015 he was an office of the BVA with the privilege of holding the Presidency in 2013/4. Alongside working in practice Robin consults for Agria Pet Insurance and is on the Council of the RVC. He is deeply interested in the way the profession develops new colleagues in practice, both vets and nurses and how we integrate with other disciplines to form effective teams. Robin's mission, if you want to call it that, is to try to ensure that as a whole we maintain and enhance the trust and respect our profession has enjoyed for generations from those we serve.

Lizzie Lockett

Lizzie joined the RCVS in February 2005 as Head of Communications, bringing with her 13 years' experience working in marketing communications both in the UK and across Europe. She later became RCVS Director of Strategic Communications. In autumn 2014, Lizzie set up the Mind Matters Initiative (MMI), to make a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of members of the veterinary team. Lizzie took up the role of Acting CEO in September 2017 and was appointed CEO in November 2017. Lizzie is an Accredited PR Practitioner with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and holds a degree in English from St John’s College, Oxford. 

Sheldon Middleton

MA VetMB MRCVS GPCert(Ophthal)

After graduating from Cambridge, Sheldon went into mixed practice in Bedfordshire. He subsequently became Senior Vet and then a Partner in the business. During this time he was involved in the sale of the farm side of the business and the successful change to Hospital status. In 2018 the practice was sold to the Royal Veterinary College as a flagship primary care teaching facility, held via an arm’s length company. He is currently Managing Director of RVC Veterinary Practices Ltd and Practice Principal of Acorn House Veterinary Hospital. He has an extensive volunteering history with BSAVA and has recently been Honorary Treasurer and is now Junior Vice President. He is Editor of the BSAVA Pocketbook for Vets, on the editorial team for Companion magazine and has overseen the development of the Association’s PDP resource. He lives in Bedfordshire with his wife (also a small animal vet) and two children.

Catherine Oxtoby


Catherine qualified from Bristol Vet School in 2000 and worked as a small animal and equine vet in the South West for 13 years. She completed a PhD in July 2017 investigating the causes and types of errors in veterinary practice, the effect of organisational culture on patient safety and the adaptation of an interprofessional teamwork training programme from human medicine for use in veterinary practice. She now works for the Veterinary Defence Society, the profession’s leading PI insurer, as a veterinary risk manager implementing human factors principles to help veterinary professionals mitigate errors and improve patient outcomes.

Anthony Roberts


Anthony leads the delivery of the RCVS strategic ambition to become a Royal College with leadership and innovation at its heart. In this role Anthony is responsible for the ViVet and RCVS Leadership initiatives.

ViVet is a wide-ranging programme to support veterinary professionals to engage with innovation and to encourage innovators to engage with the veterinary professions when launching new products or services. In doing so it seeks to put veterinary professionals at the centre of innovation in the animal health sector. Inspired by Vet Futures.

RCVS Leadership supports the development of veterinary professionals’ leadership skills helping them to thrive in the uncertain and complex environment of life in everyday practice, and to take control of our own futures.

Anthony has worked at the RCVS for nine years delivering key projects such as the First Rate Regulator Initiative (2012/13), the launch of the new Practice Standards Scheme (2015), and the reform through legislation of RCVS governance structures (2018). Prior to joining the RCVS Anthony worked in public affairs and media relations at the British Plastics Federation, the trade association for the UK plastics industry. Anthony holds an MBA with Distinction from Warwick Business School (2016), an MA (Hons) in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Edinburgh (2004) and the CIPR Diploma in Public Relations (2009).

Kit Sturgess


Kit Sturgess graduated from Cambridge University in 1986 and spent six years in general veterinary practice. He has been seeing referral small animal medicine cases for the past 25 years both at university-based and private specialist practices. Kit enjoys a flexible role, combining governance, lecturing, writing and clinic time. Kit is Treasurer and member of the RCVS Council, chair of BSAVA Education committee and on the committee of the Small Animal Medicine Society. He is a trustee of the Wildheart Trust and Cats Protection.

Polly Taylor


A 1976 Cambridge graduate, worked initially in general practice, then clinical academia (University of Cambridge and the Animal Health Trust). Gained her PhD in equine anaesthesia and was a founding Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. Now an independent consultant in veterinary anaesthesia with work ranging from clinical anaesthesia and teaching to drug registration, as well as research, particularly in analgesia. Has published numerous papers on anaesthesia and analgesia and is a director of Topcat Metrology Ltd, developing bespoke nociceptive threshold testing systems for numerous animal species. Ex member of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (2002-2010) and has continued as an advocate for the veterinary profession in drug legislation. Most recent activity to put head above the parapet is to join a growing group showing the profession that overtreatment of animals “just because we can” is often not in their best interests.

Renate Weller

Drmedvet, PhD, MscVetEd, FHEA, MRCVS, ACVSMR, ECVDI LA Assoc.

Originally a Munich graduate, Renate has worked in several different countries in ambulatory and referral settings before settling in the UK. She is an RCVS specialist in Diagnostic Imaging, an European and American diplomat in veterinary sports medicine and holds a PhD in biomechanics. Renate has a Masters in Veterinary Education and has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her contribution to teaching and learning. After 20 years at the RVC, where she split her time between clinics, research and teaching, she has joined CVS as director of veterinary education last year. She has contributed to numerous books and authored over a 100 journal publications. She has been the 2019/19 BEVA president when she initiated the 2018 survey on recruitment and retention and established BEVA’s career coaching program. In her spare time she likes to walk her dogs, ride her pony, bake cakes and play table tennis.

Summit timetable

Day One - The Profession Today

Monday 16 December

09:45-10:45 Registration and refreshments

10:45-11:00 Welcome

11:00-12:00 Keynote: The vet will see you now, Graham Easton

12:00-12:30 Discussion

12:30-13:40 Lunch

13:40-14:40 Workshop A

14:50-15:50 Workshop B

15:50-16:20 Afternoon refreshments

16:20-17:20 Workshop C

18:30-20:00 Drinks Reception in Dorchester Library - kindly sponsored by VetPlus

Day Two - The Profession Tomorrow

Tuesday 17 December

09:15-09:45 Registration and refreshments

09:45-10:00 Welcome

10:00-11:00 Keynote: Standing up for your profession, Alison McCourt

11:00-11:30 Discussion

11:30-12:00 Morning refreshments

12:00-13:00 Workshop A

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:00 Workshop B

15:00-15:30 Afternoon refreshments

15:30-16:30 Workshop C

16:40-17:00 Summary