Colonel Neil Smith


Candidate 10 of 10


Neil SmithProposers

Patricia Colville, Rosie Allister


Address and contact details

Headquarters Surgeon General, Coltman House, Whittington Barracks, Lichfield WS14 9PY

M 07813 291905



Twitter @ncsrcvs


Candidate biography

Graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1989.
Currently Chief Veterinary Officer (Army).
Wide range of experience in small animal, equine and public health.
Occasional locums for an OOH provider.
Heavily involved in the FMD outbreak in 2001 and Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2015.
Masters degrees in Food Science, Business Administration and Defence Studies.
Awarded FRCVS in 2016.
RCVS Council elected member 2004-8, 2010-18, President 2013-14.
Served on Vet Nurse Council, Operational Board. Preliminary Investigations Committee, Standards Committee and Education Committee.
Blue Cross Trustee.
VetLife Trustee.

Candidate manifesto

In the 2014 election my manifesto was largely about addressing the mental health issues in the profession. Since then the Mind Matters Initiative, which I chaired, has achieved much and stimulated a lot of interest and discussion. Hundreds have now attended Mental Health Awareness training, the RCVS has increased funding to VetLife’s Helpline and Health Support programme, we have laid on Mindfulness training and a range of other activities and initiatives. But there is much still to do, including employment issues and the complaints process. RCVS does not regulate employment matters, but MMI and the College should still do more. The MMI/SPVS Wellbeing Awards acknowledge good practice, but poor practices need to be addressed.

There are three things I would like to see change in the complaints process:

  1. As we now have the Veterinary Client Mediation Service available, complaints that clearly do not reach the bar of ‘conduct disgraceful in a professional respect’ should be closed without even stressing the veterinary surgeon involved.
  2. We need a peer support programme of volunteers who are available to support vets through the process, a number of other professions do this.
  3. Vets should be allowed to nominate a third party, such as VDS or a colleague, to receive the initial complaint letter.

The Code of Professional Conduct and Supporting Guidance are useful documents, but need to offer wider and clearer advice, use examples, and be subject to periodic review. Veterinary practice is changing and the RCVS needs to be more proactive and not just reactive.

I am a key supporter of RVNs (and protection of their title), and we need to work towards ‘Advanced Practitioner’ status or similar to enable RVNs to do more and have a clearer career progression.

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