Geoff Little (President)
I am proud to be a member of a profession that has given me a great deal and I very much value the opportunity to be in a position, with the rest of Vetlife, to give back to those colleagues who find themselves in challenging situations.
Although no longer in practice, my roles as Communications Training Associate with the VDS and Veterinary Business Advisor with Anval bring me in regular contact with practices and their personnel. My role within the VDS brings me into contact with undergraduates and graduates who experience challenging situations. I am also a SPVS Educational Trustee. In the past I served as a Director of Centaur Services for 20 years and so have a good understanding of corporate governance. I am also a former President of SPVS.
I had the privilege of serving as acting Honorary Treasurer for Vetlife for a couple of years before accepting the Board’s invitation to become President in July 2016.
Graham Dick (Honorary Treasurer)
A Bristol graduate, I spent 15 years in mixed veterinary practice, first in Somerset then as a partner in Norfolk. A change of track took me into the world of animal therapeutics both in the UK and overseas culminating in my eventual position as Head of the Animal Health Division of Bayer for the UK and Ireland from which I finally retired in 2013. During my time in the UK I served for 10 years on the Board of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) for which I have the privilege to have been elected to serve as Chairman for a period of three years and to have been made an honorary life member for services to the animal health industry. Additional to my roles with Vetlife, I provide consultancy services to international veterinary business, am a Non-executive Director of an international veterinary services business, and am also engaged with the veterinary charities RCVS Knowledge and WikiVet.
My wife remains an active clinical veterinarian, and my interaction with the evolution of a variety of practice models has provided a depth of understanding of many of the personal pressures and business drivers faced by today’s veterinary surgeons. I also believe my international business and Trade Association background has provided me with the necessary experience in individual relationships, communication and veterinary business management to enable me to be a strong and active contributor to such a worthy organisation as Vetlife.
Elaine Garvican (Honorary Secretary)
I qualified as a vet in 2004 and spent a few years working in equine first opinion and referral centers before studying for a PhD in osteoarthritis. I subsequently moved into veterinary research and worked in Regenerative Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College for 3 years. I have put my research career on hold since relocating to North Yorkshire with my husband who is an Army officer but I still run a small business.
I have a strong desire to support young vets in practice who feel disillusioned or let down, or burdened by what they feel as a huge weight of the expectation that society and their own aspirations places on them. Having spent time in 4 different vet schools, I also feel a connection to the next generation and believe that the veterinary profession can do more to support and nurture the mental wellbeing of its younger members.
I have experience in a wide variety of veterinary workplaces and run my own small business.
In 2005 I graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Warsaw, Poland. My experience with the British veterinary profession reaches beyond that, as I was seeing practice in North Yorkshire before graduation. I have also completed the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Vet GP).
Between 1998-2010 I was actively involved in hands-on work for charity Camphill Village Trust, which creates communities for people with special needs. Together with my husband we ran one of many households where we lived and worked together with vulnerable adults.
While I am a keen small animal practitioner, one of my main areas of interest lies with the welfare of people involved in the profession. I strongly believe in the importance of communication, the benefits of prevention and the right for everyone within our profession to be appropriately supported.
Being a foreign graduate, I have a deep understanding of the process of transition to work in the UK. I can recognise and appreciate the complexity of such a process and can identify the most difficult elements of it, including the vulnerability felt by those who go through this experience.
Being a female vet in my thirties with a young family, I can give hands on support and use my experience of dealing with both personal and professional circumstances that can lead to many issues, including burn-out, distress and mental health issues with long term consequences.
I have had extensive experience of the issues that Vetlife deals with, having built up a vet practice consisting of a large referral centre, veterinary hospital and 12 branches employing 250 people.
During this time as one of 2 directors of this group I witnessed employees having to deal with a range of issues and saw first hand that the support provided by Vetlife within the practices was superb.
I was also involved in the setting up of the SPVS Wellbeing awards and have been actively involved in promoting this award and highlighting the importance of wellbeing in practice.
I am passionate about providing support and help for the veterinary profession with health and financial difficulties.
I graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 1973, and following a few years abroad, worked in mixed rural practice (Millcroft Veterinary Group, Cockermouth, Cumbria) for most of my career (1979-2010). Additionally I was involved with the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS) from 1995 – as Chairman of the Technical Services Committee (1997-2000), as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors (2000-2010) and as Chairman of Executive (2010-15). I retired from VDS on 31 July 2015 having completed 20 years’ service.
I strongly believe that the veterinary profession should look after colleagues who find themselves in difficulty, whether this be as a result of civil litigation, allegations of professional misconduct or through ill health or other misfortune. Both VDS and Vetlife play extremely important complementary roles in this respect.
I qualified from Glasgow in 1984 and worked in a truly mixed practice for five years (during which time I obtained my Certificate in Veterinary Radiography) before moving to Nottingham to concentrate on small animal matters; I bought the practice in 1996 and have developed it since then, and although I still spend the majority of my working time as a front line small animal practitioner, I am fortunate enough to enjoy several other part-time jobs. These include editing an international clinical journal (Veterinary Focus), and serving as a consultant for Anval, the company that specialises in offering business advice to veterinary practices; I also do some work for the University of Nottingham and I served as a non-executive director for BVA for three years.
I became a member of Vetlife many years ago (1996) when I was asked to serve as the area representative for the East Midlands – a post I still hold – and I have long-term first-hand experience of the charity and how it functions. I have also served on the financial sub-committee in the past, and understand how the fund manages its investments and prioritises its decisions, which ensures it can deliver assistance where it is needed most whilst still managing to balance the books and satisfy the conditions laid down by the Charities Commission. The last twenty years has opened my eyes to the often desperate plight of some Vetlife beneficiaries and the absolute need for a charity dedicated to helping individuals within our own profession. The charity does unique and invaluable work to support members and dependants of the profession who, for whatever reason, need assistance.
I know from first-hand experience that working in practice is challenging and stressful at times. Very often these stresses are not left behind in the surgery and can affect both home and social environments.
I have worked in a wide range of professional environments covering private and co-operatively owned practices, both in the UK and overseas, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Currently, I work for the Veterinary Defence Society as a Claims Adviser providing advice and assisting colleagues dealing with complaints.
My past experience and current work has given me a very good understanding of the issues that many in the profession face on a daily basis and how these can have a negative impact on the health and welfare of those in practice and the people around them. Nearly everyone in the profession will experience difficulties at one time or other and it is vitally important to provide support to those in need. Without such support this predominantly caring profession can be a lonely arena in which to work.
I graduated from Glasgow vet school in 2002 and have since crossed the border into small animal practice in and around Hertfordshire.
For the last few years I have been a locum which allows me to continue to work in the vocation I love, whilst having the time to be involved in other aspects of the profession and charity work.
My involvement with Vetlife resulted from a desire to understand my own mental health and why mental health problems are so rife within the profession. I have participated in the development of the Vetlife website and in helping come up with ideas to encourage awareness of this invaluable charity within the profession including compiling a book of practical tips and speaking at veterinary events.
I find my involvement with Vetlife and some of the people that it helps, has enriched my life. I know that I can offer Vetlife the time, enthusiasm and genuine dedication to encouraging awareness of the problems our profession faces and promoting wellbeing.