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Dr Richard Sanderson


Candidate 12 of 14

Proposers: Edward Pattison, Dr Benjamin Sweeney

Contact details 

T 0151 317 8888
E [email protected]

Candidate biography

Richard Sanderson, 2024 RCVS Council election candidateHaving graduated in 2009 from the University of Liverpool I started in predominantly large animal mixed practice. After nearly 2 years I moved into solely small animal practice. I have worked as an employee in first opinion, out-of-hours and referral clinics. I locumed whilst completing my Graduate Diploma in Law from LJMU, and was a Technical Liaison Officer for Ben Fogle's Animal Clinic ensuring the profession was presented appropriately in the media. During this time I also was chairman of the organising committee of The University of Liverpool Veterinary Alumni Association.

After locuming I set up my own mobile vets which, in 6 years, has developed into a large first opinion and referrals clinic based on the Wirral, nr Liverpool. I have the RCVS certAVP and am an Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Practice. I am due to sit my exams in my Surgery Certificate and my Advanced Soft Tissue Surgery Certificate. I am an OV.

My current role is about 75% clinical (first opinion and referral small animal) and 25% business administration which I fit in alongside my family life.

Candidate statement

I bring something very simple – practical ground-level experience of the job most of us do and want to continue doing well. And I will bring that experience by sitting on council whilst continuing to do the job. I am simply a small animal vet who puts patient care above all else. I hope a vote for me is a vote for common sense. I care about our profession, and our patients.

Recent policy changes within the profession have raised concerns to me as a practising vet. It feels like now, more than ever, we need common sense to prevail. The recent changes in prescribing of parasitics for example has heaped a pressure on the profession without, it seems, understanding of the impact it would have at the ground level where the vast majority of us work. I have suffered and expect many others have too and our voice needs to be heard as I am not convinced this change benefitted the patients we treat.

More independent practices are opening now than there has been for a long-time, which I think is great for the profession and the professions reputation. Fee's appear to be uniformly increasing, yet standards remain wide and variable. As a practice owner, I speak for many when I say we feel a little neglected by both employee's and by the bodies in place to protect us. For those who firmly want to advocate for the patient we must embrace the practicalities and the grey area's rather than fear them.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act is also in need of review to allow professional progress for vets and nurses. The RCVS needs to lead that and ensure we upskill nurses, develop vets and grow. My law background gives me the skills to help in that progression.

Candidate answers to questions from the profession


An elected body voting to abolish elections without full consultation with the body they represent …. in short; No, enough said!

I feel like that’s all I want to say actually, but I should probably expand a little. A collective vote is not always a good idea, Brexit taught us that! However in a time of corporatisation and the profession been investigated a movement for an elected body to abolish elections when representing a profession is not a good way forwards. 

I would prefer Council time to be spent encouraging more engagement in the voting process rather than in abolishing voting. Time spent understanding what the profession needs and how to support the profession though effective regulation and representation, before the profession loses its ability to self-regulate.

That said some of the recent activities has encouraged me to run for council so I guess such decisions engaged me to get involved … even the bad ones.

Under Care

The recent changes to the prescription of anti-parasiticides, as an example, is simply scandalous. It has heaped a burden upon us practicing vets we could ill afford and did want to. It has had zero positive impact on the reputation of the profession or animal welfare. 

Independents suffer the most, our pockets are the lightest. The email from the RCVS made things worse - whether they agreed with our methods I believe most of us genuinely responsibly prescribed only to patients under our care.

I firmly believe in empowering nurses and helping fill a recruitment gap with upskilling of nurses and improving their value and income potential. Many people feel the same, yet they are stopped from prescribing these products under these regulations.

Responsible regulation is a must, but I cannot see any sensible practical reason why these changes were made. Someone must be benefiting but it is certainly not the patients or the vets on the ground. Decisions like this, if to be made by council, require us all to take responsibility to vote practising vets onto council.