Skip to content

Dr Lara Wilson


Candidate 14 of 14

Proposers: Amanda Boag, Dr Fiona McFarland

Contact details

M 07523 494 847
E [email protected]Candidate biography

Lara Wilson, 2024 RCVS Council election candidateBased in Northern Ireland, I am a working general practice veterinary surgeon, married with four children, a noisy Schnauzer, and a fat Highland Pony. Since qualifying I have treated patients and worked with veterinary teams from Elgin to Canterbury, from Fife to Fivemiletown.

I wasn't an academic star at Glasgow Vet School, but I was proud to receive the Lanark Prize for attitude and ability in handling animals. I went to Northern Ireland, working in mixed practice then became a senior vet at Vets Now, Belfast, the first dedicated OOH service in Northern Ireland. I progressed to an area lead role supporting clinic teams, then led the 24/7 emergency service from the Vets Now Glasgow Referral Hospital. During this time I completed an MBA focused on team development and retention.

Now, I'm a Regional Clinical Lead for CVS, mentoring and learning from colleagues across Scotland and Northern Ireland. I support QI projects, take part in teaching and mentoring, and keep my clinical skills current working in primary care practice. I am a member of the BVA member benefits and events committee and a director of the Vet Trust and working towards a MA in Applied Linguistics.

Candidate statement 

The last years have been turbulent; Brexit, COVID, Under Care, XL bullies and more. I have weathered the consequent changes in practice while supporting teams through the same experience.

My core values are hard work, fairness, respect, and inclusive leadership. I am a good listener and take a big picture view. My opinions are informed and supported by a keen sense of professional responsibility. I am as comfortable working on a committee or board as in the consult room. I have a strong network across the UK and interact with the full spectrum of Veterinary Surgeons in my daily work.

The role of a Council Member is explicitly to listen to the voices of the profession and reflect them in discussions. I am committed to doing exactly this. I will be approachable, compassionate, and considered.

I have wide knowledge and experience. I am keen to enhance communication between the Council and the working veterinary team and to help align the Code of Conduct with the concepts of contextualised care and shared decision making.

My career so far has been challenging and enjoyable, in mixed practice, emergency work, referral setting and, now again, in primary care in urban and rural areas, days, nights and weekends. In addition to my clinical work I have experience across many aspects of the profession; finance, Quality Improvement, Vet GDP, teaching of professional skills, workshop design and facilitation, Human Resources and Committee work.

This is a time of adjustment for our profession. I would be grateful to be able to influence the changes to come so we can move forwards together as a veterinary team to continually improve the standards of care for animals, clients, the environment, and each other.

Please do vote. Consider including me as one of your choices.

Candidate answers to questions from the profession

How would you describe good governance and what does good governance look like for the RCVS council over the next five years?

What is good governance anyway? It is a series of actions which achieve the goals of the organisation in an appropriate and ethical way.  It takes account of, but does not defer to, expert opinion.   It is efficient. It is timely. It is well-considered.  It is effective. Those responsible should continually review their decisions and activities to ensure bold leadership and apt accountability.

The RCVS Council must be more transparent and there needs to be an improvement in the tone of engagement with the profession. Since the Veterinary Surgeons Act in 1966 the world has changed; practitioners no longer look like those of the past. The election of Vets to Council is the most efficient and most fair way to reflect our changing profession in all its diversity.

It is essential that Vets on Council form a representative sample of the Veterinary community, including those working in primary care, public health, government and referral.

Council members must appropriately direct and challenge the Executive and ensure that broad policy is set by the Council including an education policy supporting the vital work of the general practitioner. Veterinary Surgeons must participate and have their say. 

It is now my time to play my part in the governance of this profession of which I am a proud member.

There is never a wrong time to do the right thing. If you do the right things often enough, what you get is good governance.

I’m concerned about corporate monopolies.  How do you think the current imbalance can be addressed?

There are advantages and disadvantages to every practice model and, like independents, all corporates are not the same. Some are joint venture partnerships while others work through share purchase.  Now, with full subscription models and employee ownership trusts, there is even more variety.

I started work in Northern Ireland before the advent of veterinary corporates.  My practice owners were fair and did their proper share of the work but there were drawbacks.  Two of my four children arrived while I was working at a small independent practice - two maternity leaves on statutory maternity pay! I was glad to get back to work and pay at the six-month mark.

In contrast, while working for a larger organisation I became acutely unwell for a long time … and I was paid my full salary until my Permanent Health Insurance kicked in. 

I welcome the current crop of independent practices which bring their own local flavour and create healthy competition. They will drive good value, high quality service and ensure both that clients have a choice and that veterinary surgeons can find an employment model and practice that fits with their personal values.   

I believe an equilibrium will be reached and I hope that, with the new Veterinary Surgeons Act, there will be careful regulation of Vets … and of veterinary practices too.