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Dr Niall Connell


Application for position: Vice-Chair of the Fellowship Board

Candidate biography

Niall graduated from Glasgow Vet School 1982. He worked for nearly two years in mixed practice in Fife before spending 26 years with PDSA in London and Glasgow and then worked as a Senior Veterinary Surgeon at East Glasgow PDSA for 15 years. Niall was awarded a Certificate in Small Animal Orthopaedics in 1991. He retired from clinical practice in 2010 because he suffers from secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis. He is an ambulatory wheelchair user.

Niall was an elected member of RCVS Council 2013- 2023, serving as RCVS President in 2019/20 during the Covid pandemic. He chaired eight RCVS Council meetings and the first twelve Covid Taskforce meetings. Niall also served as RCVS Treasurer from 2020 to 2023, as well as chairing the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Working Group for several years and the RCVS Financial Resource Committee along with other committees. He also does contract student portfolio assessment work for Glasgow Vet school and helps with widening participation activity.

Niall has been Director for Scottish SPCA since February 2022 and has been a vet school accreditation site visitor for the Veterinary Council of Ireland, AVMA COE and RCVS. Niall is also on the RCVS Visitor List. He was awarded RCVS Fellowship in 2022 for Meritorious Contributions to the Profession. Most recently, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine and surgery by Edinburgh University 2023 for his “inspirational championing of equality and diversity, and acting as a strong positive role model”.

Candidate statement

When on RCVS Council, I was on the Fellowship Board before being a Fellow. I am currently on the Fellowship Development Working Party. I also have the honour to be Chair of this year’s ‘Fellows of the Future’ judging panel on Fellowship Day 2023. I have always been keen to be involved and advance the Fellowship as far as possible. It has come a long way since the Supplemental Charter of 1876 when the Fellowship Committee was trying to decide who might be suitable and did the Highland certificate count?

I have extensive experience of committees and engagement with our veterinary and nursing professions. I was RCVS President during the Covid-19 pandemic and also chaired the first twelve Covid Taskforce meetings and RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.

I have experience of working with BVA and all the associations. I took part in the Joint Officers meetings with Vet Schools Council and chaired 50% of them. I do portfolio assessment and widening participation work with Glasgow Vet School and have worked with students through RCVS and afterwards. I have successfully encouraged several colleagues to achieve Fellowship.

I want the RCVS Fellowship and its relevance to soar in our veterinary universe. I'm interested in earlier career applications, maximum diversity, and widening participation. Promotion of the concept to our profession is very important. I still hear veterinary surgeons, particularly women, saying that they would not be good enough when they plainly are suitable for RCVS Fellowship. I would relish working with the Chair, Board and our Fellowship to achieve the best outcomes. I would like to see sustained active contributions to our professions from our Fellows, including opinions, papers, CPD, and Fellowship involvement in conferences or a bespoke, standalone Fellowship conference. The sky’s the limit and I want to help Fellowship get there.