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Sally Schroeder


Candidate 13 of 14

Proposers: John Dinsdale, Jane Feneley

Contact details

M 07769 674 736
E [email protected]

Candidate biography

Sally Schroeder, 2024 RCVS Council election candidateGrowing up in London, I spent my time at local stables and working Saturdays at the vets. Coming up against discouragement from teachers, I realised that a career as a Vet was what I really wanted.

I qualified from RVC in 1999 and joined Berry House Vets in Hertfordshire one month later. 24 years on I am still there. Initially a fully mixed practice, it then became small/equine (my two passions), and subsequently small animals only ten years ago.

Despite staying in one practice throughout my working life, my experience with Berry House has taken me through mixed practice, small animal practice, assistant, director of Berry House as an independent practice and now CD as part of a large corporate. I have gained certificates in Surgery and Veterinary Acupuncture. I have also played various roles within IVC – sitting on the Clinical Board for many years amongst others. I am still a committed GP vet, enjoying all aspects of the role.

Outside of work I enjoy the cliched long walks in the country, although I prefer my pony to do the walking, Ballroom and Latin dancing and attempting to tame my tenacious and self-wilding garden, supervised by my moggy.

Candidate statement 

My main passions in my work are first opinion practice and pragmatic veterinary care. These two things are key to the relationship that our profession has with the public and they should be lauded as the basis that everything else is built on.

Throughout my career I’ve had the chance to gain a variety of skills in addition to the clinical ones: running a practice, sitting on various committees from IT to procurement, working with clinical and non-clinical teams and I feel that this will allow me to be a productive and relevant member of the Council.

The RCVS working party that is looking into career pathways within GP work is starting some very valuable work and this is something that is vital to continue but must utilise the knowledge of experienced vets from both the independent and corporate worlds. Retention will only improve when experienced vets are kept motivated within GP practice(s), as people most frequently leave jobs due to poor management and/or lack of experienced mentors.

The significant challenges caused to GP practices by the timescales and details of the Under Care guidance demonstrates how vital it is to have practising GP vets within the RCVS who can help to bring forward relevant protocols, guidance and legislature that is not only feasible within GP, but actively aids GP vets in performing their job to the best credit of the profession.

I am asking for your vote as a passionate GP vet so that I can help to support and improve our profession through a focus on GP practice.

Candidate answers to questions from the profession

Answer to the questions regarding under care

I do not agree that the Under care rules covering antibiotics should apply to anti-parasiticides.  I do agree with the Royal College that there needs to be governance of these medications, but that governance must be practical within a practice situation and functional in providing vets with the ability to use these products correctly.  The new rules cause the opposite. 

A vet must be allowed to determine the most suitable anti-parasiticide for the situation at hand, at the point of request, without a physical examination that is generally unnecessary in these cases.  Under these rules, the only option is the medication that was possibly authorised months previously. Changes between multi-parasite and more targeted medication cannot be made unless the owner re-presents the patient, paying for a consult.  Vets therefore are realistically unable to tailor their treatment to each case.

Prohibiting alterations of tablet/pipette size to fit weight changes documented by an RVN is equally incomprehensible, especially when dealing with juvenile animals.

These rules also push clients towards OTC treatments from pet shops/online to avoid paying for clinical examinations.  These medications often come with no or poor advice on correct usage yet carry the same risks regarding resistance and environmental contamination as many POM products.

The new rules do not increase animal welfare and are actually more likely to harm it with an increased use of OTC products.  They are also adding significant stress to an already stretched workforce in both the constant authorisation process and clients unhappy at extra cost.

Answer to the Future of the Profession question

The single most important challenge for the profession is retention of experienced staff, both vets and nurses.

Low levels of experienced staff impact every aspect of veterinary work, from support for new grads and junior staff (therefore increasing retention of less experienced staff) and provision of suitable EMS and RVN training, to protecting animal welfare, reducing antibiotic use, increasing clinical excellence and educating the public.

The causes of the retention issue are multifactorial and I have experienced many relevant situations during my career, either directly or indirectly.

I have been an employer and an employee.  I have been full time and I am now a part-time working mum.  I have worked for independents and corporates.  I have worked with technologies, both existing and emerging, such as tumour scanners, AI and IT/PMS systems, all of which will affect the working lives of vets and nurses, and therefore affect retention.

Skills wise, I am able to take in a variety of opinions and ideas and apply them to the bigger picture, identifying possible future issues or opportunities.  I am a confident communicator, having experience collaborating with many different professions and departments.  I seek and accept expertise that I do not personally have.

I also strongly believe in the importance of a sound evidence base for any proposals.  As a profession we are taught to question and seek verification for our plans and, in respecting the importance of this process, I believe I can both represent and increase engagement with the wider profession.