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Dr Kate Richards


Candidate 11 of 14

Proposers: Dr Rosie Allister, Dr Niall Connell

Contact details

T 0207 833 2770
M 07956 383 732
E [email protected]

Candidate biography

Kate Richards, 2024 RCVS Council election candidateQualifications:

Dick Vet graduate
Official Veterinarian (OV)
Diploma in Marketing
Veterinary Public Health
MA in Creative and Life Writing


Fifteen years in farm animal practice in Aberdeenshire, including OV work
Livestock Veterinary Advisor in Schering-Plough Animal Health
Temporary Veterinary Inspector in Defra’s Disease Emergency Control Centre during Foot & Mouth 2001
Farm animal welfare Veterinary Advisor in Defra
BCVA Council, welfare and education committees
Leadership roles in Defra, Cabinet Office, HMRC, Scotland Office and Ministry of Justice
Animal Welfare Foundation Trustee


Mentoring vet graduates
STEM ambassador
Tutor to disadvantaged students, The Access Project
Member of the SRUC, Food Standards Scotland and Moredun Boards working in consulting, education, food and feed, and research
RCVS Council, Chair of Education Committee and Mind Matters Initiative
Member of RCVS vet school visitation panel
Governor, The Glasgow Academy


Writing, tap dancing, singing


RCVS, BVA, Association of Government Vets, Veterinary Public Health Association

Candidate statement 

We are a caring profession, a community demonstrating commitment to animal health and welfare daily. Our roles include clinical practice, veterinary public health, research, policy, surveillance and ensuring compliance with legislation, to name but a few! My aim is to raise awareness of our significant impact and increase the volume of the veterinary voice in society.

Our profession delivers in challenging circumstances including the XL bully ban, workforce recruitment and retention and protecting our borders against incursion of disease such as African Swine Fever. The challenges are many and can be sector specific. I bring experience, expertise and insight from my time in clinical practice, veterinary public health as an Official Veterinarian, the pharmaceutical industry and UK Government Civil Service. It is important to have breadth as well as depth of expertise on Council.

That we need legislative reform is beyond doubt, the current Veterinary Surgeons Act is nearly 60 years old and the world has changed significantly. We need legislation that is fit for purpose and I will continue to champion reform.

I believe in equality, diversity and inclusivity. A STEM ambassador, I am invited to schools to raise awareness of the multitude of vet roles and also tutor disadvantaged students.

I am passionate about raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing to counter stigma and discrimination, supporting nurturing workplaces where veterinary teams thrive. I use my connections across sectors to collaborate and learn. I am heartened by the appetite for discussions and understanding on this topic but there is more to do and we must not be complacent.

I would be honoured to be re-elected to Council, to work with and for the profession, a profession I deeply respect and to which I am indebted and committed.

Candidate answers to questions from the profession

The important primary role of veterinary practitioners within the profession.

The new Accreditation Standards for veterinary schools state, among many revisions, that over 70% of clinical education must focus on casework in the general practice context, reflecting the reality of clinical veterinary practice. This fundamental shift is vital to ensure that undergraduates learn about real life scenarios to prepare them better for general practice and improve retention. The standards also state that recruitment criteria must include relevant factors other than academic performance. The RCVS must apply these standards rigorously to new and existing schools. 

The new EMS policy is being rolled out from autumn 2024. The reduced clinical EMS requirements will allow students to focus on their areas of interest rather than having to do small animal and livestock placements when their sole interest is equine, for example. The rigid requirement of at least one week will be replaced with more flexible blocks of time and the introduction of learning outcomes from the placement, encourages students to reflect on what they want to experience rather than seeing EMS as a requirement with a tick box at the end. The new policy with reduced weeks but increased quality should increase engagement from students but also make the experience more rewarding for valued practitioners. 

The role of general practitioners is vital and it is so important that undergraduates are prepared for entrance to the workforce, supported through their transition so that they become long term members of the profession.  

Proposed changes to the composition of Council.

Don’t lose it. For the last few years the percentage of the profession voting in Council elections has hovered around 25% though it fell to ~ 17% last year. I am really glad that the proposed changes to the composition of Council has provoked such an interest in the election process, igniting the passion of the profession. In May 2018, a Legislative Reform Order amending the governance arrangements of the RCVS received ministerial approval. This amendment made a number of changes to the composition of RCVS Council, including a reduction in the number of elected places available on Council from 24 to 13 over a staged transition. I don’t remember this causing any ripples in the profession or call to action when it was announced.

It’s heartening that the profession has engaged so enthusiastically on this issue and I hope this will lead to increased numbers voting this year. As the saying goes, ‘Use it or lose it.’