RCVS Day: new President invested

11 July 2012

RCVS Day – the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ AGM and Awards Day – saw the investiture of the new President, Jacqui Molyneux, on 6 July 2012, at the Royal College of Physicians, London.

New RCVS Officer team (from left): Gordon Hockey, Jerry Davies, Jacqui Molyneux, Bradley Viner and Neil Smith

Graduating from the University of Bristol in 1981, Jacqui started her career in small animal practice in Liverpool. She then moved to the North East, where she set up her own practice in a small mining town near Consett. It was accredited as a Veterinary Hospital in 2002, and became part of the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme four years later.

Jacqui obtained her Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2000 and is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Clinical Oncology at the University of Birmingham.

Throughout the last decade, Jacqui has become increasingly interested in veterinary politics and was invited to join the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons’ Council in 2000.

I feel strongly that in order to ‘police’ a community you need the majority of that community onside and that is what I am hoping to achieve.

Jacqui Molyneux

Her enthusiastic involvement in all aspects of the Society’s activities culminated in her being elected President for the year 2010-2011.

Jacqui was elected to RCVS Council in 2005 and served for four years on the Disciplinary Committee, as well as chairing the Small Animal Surgery Certificate Board.

She has been Vice-Chairman of VN Council and also chaired the RCVS Awarding Body Board during the review of the veterinary nurse training system, which, following prolonged consultation with the profession, resulted in the new Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

As Vice-President, Jacqui served on the Planning and Resources Committee and the Preliminary Investigation Committee.

In taking on the role of President, Jacqui thanked Jerry Davies for his ‘calm leadership’ over the year, saying: “He has been a true captain on the bridge, leading us through some stormy waters, and I personally have really appreciated his steadfastness.

"I fully expect him to continue to have the same steadying influence on the Officer team over the coming year.”

She also said that “just because the RCVS regulates the profession, we do not need to be remote and aloof.

"I feel strongly that in order to ‘police’ a community you need the majority of that community onside and that is what I am hoping, with Nick (Nick Stace, new CEO starting in September), to achieve during the next year.”

At the event, Peter Jinman stood down as Vice-President, with outgoing President Jerry Davies commenting: “His encyclopaedic knowledge of a wide spectrum of subjects, that ranges from badgers, through the intricacies of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and the Royal College Charter, to the internal workings of the Palace of Westminster, will be an invaluable source of advice and experience for the President and Officer Team.”

As he stood down from the role of President, Jerry Davies became Vice-President, Colonel Neil Smith took up the role of the second Vice-President, and Bradley Viner was reconfirmed as Treasurer.



RCVS Day falls into two parts: the AGM and the awards ceremony. The AGM is the opportunity for members to ask questions, and this year several were submitted by those present and also some from a member unable to attend.

Questions covered the publication of the Overspend Review Group’s report, the College’s relationship with government, the management of costs for the Disciplinary Committee once the legislative reform order is in place, the cost of holding the Register of Veterinary Practice Premises, the presentation of draft accounts and of the published accounts, and the role of the College as a source of informed opinion on relevant veterinary matters.

The questions, and their answers, will be included in the AGM minutes in due course.

The AGM also saw changes to RCVS Council and the Veterinary Nurses Council.

Retiring RCVS Council members included Dr Chris Chesney, Dr Bertie Ellis and Charles Gruchy, who had been formally thanked at the June 2012 Council meeting.

Amanda Boag being welcomed to Council by Jerry Davies

Re-elected Council members Catherine Goldie, Dr Barry Johnson and Richard Stephenson were confirmed for further four-year terms, and Professor Stephen May, previously an appointed member of Council, re-joined as an elected member after a short break.

Newly-elected Council members Amanda Boag (pictured right) and Chris Barker were also welcomed to Council.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Figg was appointed to the Veterinary Nurses (VN) Council, to replace Tanya Caley who had served a one-year term, and Kathy Kissick was re-elected to VN Council. Kathy also took over from Liz Branscombe as Chairman of VN Council, with Liz becoming one of the VN Council Vice-Chairman, and Neil Smith remaining the other.

In announcing this change, Jerry Davies thanked Liz Branscombe for all her hard work on behalf of VN Council, saying that, as they (coincidentally) work in the same practice: “I have been able to witness, at first hand, the time, dedication and attention to detail that Liz has applied to the benefit of the veterinary nursing profession.”

Lay member of VN Council, Penny Swindlehurst, was reappointed for a further four-year term.


Council meeting

A short Council meeting was also held at the end of the AGM, where Council confirmed its decision of the June 2012 Council meeting with regard to the composition of the new Audit and Risk Committee, and agreed its membership.

The new Officer team for 2012-13 was also confirmed.


Awards and honours

Dr Douglas McGregor (HonAssoc) MRCVS

Outgoing President Jerry Davies conferred a range of awards, including an Honorary Associateship to Dr Douglas McGregor, Emeritus Professor of Immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.

Dr McGregor (pictured right, and see citation in 'Related documents'), who was not present to accept his award, was particularly commended for his development and direction of the Cornell Veterinary Leadership and Research Programme, an intensive 10-week research-oriented summer school which, according to Jerry Davies: “Inspires veterinary students by giving them a global outlook, ambitious aspirations and a culture of excellence.”

Honorary Fellowship was granted to Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, a specialist in the area of large zoological animal research, particularly in the field of reproduction.

Amongst Dr Hildebrandt’s achievements is the development of a technique that has achieved over 30 elephant births in zoos throughout the world, including the first elephants born in captivity in Australian zoos for over 100 years. For full citation, see 'Related documents'.

Dr Annamaria Nagy receives the scroll of Fellowship by Thesis from Jerry Davies

A further Honorary Fellowship was bestowed upon Professor Lance Lanyon, currently Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol and Professor Emeritus at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

President Jerry Davies described the many achievements of Professor Lanyon in veterinary education and research, particularly during his 15 years as Principal of the RVC, and also his contribution to the RCVS as Council member and a member of many visitation panels.

“His career embodies that of a man dedicated to the advancement of veterinary medicines in all its guises,” said Jerry (see 'Related documents' for citation).

Fellowships were awarded by the President to David Burch and Dr Annamaria Nagy (pictured right).

Veterinary diplomas were awarded on a range of subjects, from Cattle Health and Production to Small Animal Surgery, and veterinary nurses were presented with their Diplomas in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Small Animal).


VN Golden Jubilee award

Sue Badger (centre) - presented with the VN Golden Jubilee Award by new VN Council Chairman Kathy Kissick

Last year the VN Council instigated an award to celebrate the 50th anniversary of veterinary nurse training.

The award, which recognises an exceptional contribution to veterinary nursing, was this year given to Sue Badger, a veterinary nurse educator who has also played a key role in veterinary nurse politics.

In presenting Sue Badger with the award, President Jerry Davies praised her dedication to the veterinary nursing profession, saying: “Her integrity and insight into not only the historical aspect of nursing but also its future, has gained her the respect of those across the whole of the veterinary profession.”


Trust awards

Hannah Geere (right) was welcomed as the first member of the new RCVS Trust Grant Alumni Association

RCVS Day marked the introduction of a new scheme from the RCVS Charitable Trust: the RCVS Trust Grant Alumni Association.

Acting Registrar Gordon Hockey described the aims of the scheme as being “to create a community which nurtures positive attitudes, innovative approaches and practical solutions, and aims to enhance combined knowledge and wisdom by encouraging the open exchange of ideas and information”.

The Association’s first member, past grant-holder Hannah Geere, was presented with a certificate of membership from Trust Chairman Jill Nute.

In addition, Dr Mark Johnston, President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, presented the Trust’s Librarian, Clare Boulton, with a generous selection of books in memory of the association’s past-President Noel Ormrod.


President’s address

Dr Jerry Davies delivers the Presidential address

The President then made his outgoing address. He began by describing his year as a “challenging one” saying that it was “right and proper that Council, representative organisations and individual veterinary surgeons should be able to challenge the decisions and actions of the governing body.”

He went on to discuss the positive changes that had been made during the year, such as the appointment of a new Chief Executive/Secretary; the establishment of a new Registrar/Head of Legal Services role; and the instigation of an Audit and Risk Committee.

“Some of these changes were the result of normal evolution,” he said, “some the result of fresh initiatives for the future; others in response to challenges.”

A positive development, and one which has been delivered on time and on budget, is the new Professional Development Record, which allows veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to plan, record and reflect on their continuing professional development online. Jerry encouraged individuals to sign up to the system.

He also praised the working party that, under the chairmanship of Claire Tapsfield-Wright, had developed the new Codes of Professional Conduct for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

Jerry also commended the hard work that had taken place on the development of the legislative reform order, the Health and Performance Protocols, and celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the veterinary nursing profession.

In particular, he thanked the Acting Registrar, Gordon Hockey, for “[maintaining] good-humoured stability pending the arrival of the new CEO… without his help, my job would have been very difficult.”

Now is the time to end the navel-gazing and concentrate on the wider and more important issues. I urge Council to heed this advice in the coming years.

Jerry Davies 

At last year’s RCVS Day, then President Peter Jinman had announced the formation of a group of past Presidents and Privy Council-appointed lay members of Council that had been tasked with reviewing the way in which Council and its Committees worked.

Jerry Davies explained that this group had given its recommendations to Council, adding: “Whilst it may have been possible to institute these changes just in time for today’s beginning of the new College year, it was thought prudent to be less hasty and, in particular, to discuss the proposals with the help and advice of the new CEO.

"This should mean that the new structures will have been developed and agreed by Council in time for the usual nominations process in the spring next year, and put in place for the College year 2013-2014.”

He concluded by saying: “I am sure that the energy and enthusiasm of incoming President, Jacqui Molyneux, will take forward a refreshed RCVS, able to take a strategic view of the needs of the animal-owning public and the veterinary professions.

"Now is the time to end the navel-gazing and concentrate on the wider and more important issues. I urge Council to heed this advice in the coming years.”


Guest speaker

Guest speaker Dr Graham Crawshaw

Guest speaker at this year’s event was Dr Graham Crawshaw, a Royal Veterinary College contemporary of both the outgoing President and Vice-President, who has spent his career working in zoo and wildlife medicine, latterly at Toronto Zoo.

Dr Crawshaw’s talk was illustrated with a stunning array of photographs, and included some unusual facts, such as that the pangolin’s tongue extends the full length of its body, that a cricket is higher in cholesterol than butter, and that a bicycle inner-tube can be used to restrict the blood supply to an elephant’s foot in order to perform surgery!

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