Skip to content

Tim Hutchinson


Tim Hutchinson, RCVS Council 2023 election candidate Candidate 7 of 10

Proposers: Andrew Curwen, Sarah Packman

Address and contact details 

Larkmead Veterinary Group, 111 – 113 Park Road, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 8QT

M 07885 571 643


Candidate biography

The son of two South Yorkshire school teachers, like so many vets I started my career working in a local practice during school holidays, using the opportunity to gain an understanding of how practices function behind the scenes. On my third attempt I gained a place at Liverpool Vet School and graduated in 1994, starting work in a city centre SA practice in West Yorkshire 3 days later, where I remained for 4 years before relocating to what is still my current practice, Larkmead Vets, a mixed species practice in Oxfordshire.

I joined the partnership in January 2000, completed my CertSAS in 2002, Advanced Practitioner, and subsequently produced two of the BSAVA Manuals. During my time at Larkmead I have helped oversee the growth of the business into a large (35+ vets) thriving, independent mixed practice, with a strong tradition of employing, developing, and retaining graduates.

My time is currently split between SA clinical, senior practice management and chairing the Board of the XLVet community. Outside work I can be found playing cello in the local orchestra, expanding my eclectic music collection, or walking my two dogs, Nala and Chester.

Candidate statement

I consider myself privileged to have enjoyed a career in first opinion practices, and despite difficult and challenging times, my passion for the job has never diminished; I would certainly choose to follow the same career path again. I am saddened by the poor retention rate that blights our profession. As a practice owner where half the vet team have been with us since graduating, I am confident that we can create practices in which our staff love to work and our clients love to interact, whilst still working within the financial constraints of a profession entirely funded by the discretional spending of those people who commit their animals to our care.

Whilst improving retention starts with making our practices better places in which to work, forward-thinking practices like mine have already come a long way in this respect, and it is incumbent on our universities to ensure that they select undergraduates from a wider socioeconomic pool (widening the door to entry without lowering the bar) and deliver pragmatic training that adequately prepares clinicians for life in general practice. Gold standard is being able to identify the most appropriate form of treatment for each individual case in the unique circumstances of its presentation and then working with the client to deliver this care to the best of our abilities.

The recent debate around how telemedicine sits with Under Care illustrates that not only is the current definition of Under Care ambiguous (despite being the mechanism through which we are held to account), but that there is a failure to recognise what constitutes a real relationship between vets, their practices, clients and through them the animals for which we care. I am asking for your vote so I can serve our profession and help create for it a healthy future.

Questions from the profession and the candidate's answers 

  • How beneficial do you view the involvement of the effect of corporates on the reputation of the veterinary profession?

Given some recent negative media articles about vets, and that we now appear to be firmly on the radar of the CMA [Competition and Markets Authority], it seems that our reputation is currently not great.

I am a firm believer in independent practice: the people who own and lead the business work at the coal face and understand first-hand the needs of clients and staff. As a local business it delivers sustainable financial returns to those who own and work within it.

What we do, as vets, is treat and prevent disease and injury in animals under our care; how we do it is by working with people. Fundamentally we are a people business that works with animals.

The inevitable consequence of rapid corporatisation has been to create practices that have become tradable commodities to generate returns for third party investors, arguably at the expense of staff and clients.

  • Do you agree with the recent decision to change the animals under care in the way it has by the current RCVS Council?

No. The RCVS has the responsibility for “setting standards” and works under a Royal Charter, so should give a clear definition of what constitutes Under Care – after all it is part of the oath we make when we graduate!

What we do as vets is to treat animals; the way we do it is through working with people. Ours is a profession built on relationships and when the relationship between the vet team and the client is strong, the animal will benefit. 

The under care definition should be based on a real VCPR. With that in place it would be appropriate for vets who genuinely have animals under their care to decide whether a physical or virtual consultation is required. The RCVS has got this back to front by trying to define Under Care based on a virtual interaction, and in doing so has failed to show robust leadership.