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Professor Chris Proudman


Chris Proudman, RCVS Council 2023 election candidate Candidate 9 of 10

Proposers: Dr Ebony Escalona, Professor John Innes

Address and contact details

School of Veterinary Medicine, Daphne Jackson Road, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7TE


Candidate biography

A graduate of Cambridge University, Chris worked in mixed practice for two years before completing a residency in equine surgery and a PhD in the epidemiology of colic at the University of Liverpool. He held an academic post at The University of Liverpool which involved clinical work, clinical teaching and research. He moved to the University of Surrey in 2013 to lead the development of a new School of Veterinary Medicine. The school has a unique model of clinical education which focuses on primary care and is delivered in collaboration with a network of partner practices. Chris contributes to the school’s growing research portfolio through studies of the role of gut bacterial communities in equine health.

Chris has served on RCVS Council, initially as the University of Surrey representative and currently as a Vet Schools Council nominee. He is currently a member of Education Committee and Registration Committee. Past committee roles include membership of the Horserace Betting Levy Board Veterinary Advisory Committee, the Veterinary Record Editorial Advisory Board and chair of the Petplan Charitable Trust Veterinary Advisory Committee.

Candidate statement

I believe:

  • That veterinary surgeons are as committed as ever to the health and welfare of animals
  • That the profession must be progressive and open to change
  • In the power of partnership working.

The profession currently faces challenges for which there are no single or simple solutions. The workforce crisis impacts the lives of many colleagues, threatening personal wellbeing, business sustainability and impeding our ability to deliver animal health solutions. Too many vets are leaving the profession due to disillusionment. We are a profession that lacks ethnic diversity and fails to reflect UK ethnic demographics. How do we adapt to minimise our carbon footprint and enhance the sustainable use of medicines?

I don’t promise instant solutions but, if elected, I am committed to working with colleagues on Council to address these important issues. I will listen to the experiences and concerns of colleagues from all sectors of the profession and seek their advice on potential solutions and mitigations. I will support and advocate for the College’s long-held wish for a new Veterinary Surgeons Act to supersede the outdated 1966 Act. New primary legislation will allow the RCVS to better protect animal health and welfare, and to provide enhanced support for the profession and protection of professional standards.

Despite our challenges, the veterinary profession has much to be optimistic about: new College premises in London that will facilitate RCVS business and be a meeting place for members, new veterinary legislation, implementation of our Diversity and Inclusion Group Strategy, an enhanced graduate development programme and new schools of veterinary medicine delivering new educational standards. If appointed to Council I will work to ensure that the benefits of RCVS change projects are felt by all members of the profession and that Council continues to show leadership in anticipating and addressing future challenges.

Questions from the profession and the candidate's answers 

  • Do you perceive the lack of diversity within the veterinary profession to be a problem and, if so, how should it be redressed?

I believe that our profession is enriched, made more resilient and better able to serve our clients if it is diverse. The RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group Strategy provides an excellent framework for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the profession. Many projects recommended by the Strategy Group are underway but change will take time to become evident. Veterinary schools and veterinary nursing programmes are beginning to admit more diverse student cohorts, veterinary businesses are embedding diversity in recruitment policy and diversity and inclusion are being discussed in practice meetings, conferences and at RCVS Council. I do believe that work experience requirements and the cost of EMS represent major barriers to recruiting veterinary students from diverse backgrounds. The recent announcement of a reduction in EMS requirements is a welcome development and I will continue to advocate for further reductions to make our profession an achievable ambition for those from all backgrounds.

  • What are the candidates’ thoughts and suggested solutions for the shortage of clinical veterinary surgeons in the UK?

The current workforce crisis is severe and impacts veterinary professionals, veterinary businesses and our ability to deliver high quality veterinary healthcare. There is no single solution, but many sectors of the profession can contribute to improving the situation. Vet schools must prepare graduates for the realities of life in veterinary practice and the Veterinary Graduate Development Programme (VetGDP) must ensure that new graduates feel supported during their early career. Practices must provide flexible employment opportunities that recognise the importance of work-life balance. We must develop better pathways back to work for returners to the profession and workforce welfare must be the concern of us all. The increased number of vet schools and veterinary graduates and a greater educational focus on primary care are welcome contributions to addressing this issue, as are employee-focussed employment practices and excellent support for the delivery of the VetGDP.