Fiona and Paula headed off on a mammoth road trip on 23rd January to attend the annual SPVS Conference. This was being held in the beautiful Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. 

The congress is the only one of its kind, in that there are no clinical lectures, it is all about managing the practice from leadership and mental well being, to digital marketing. After a long journey down the M6, and a lovely evening meal on Thursday, they were ready to start their learning journey bright and early on Friday morning. The conference was opened with an amazing inspirational talk by radio and television reporter Clare Balding. Her passion for animals was very clear to see and her stories of growing up being surrounded by the Queen’s Horses were very amusing and touching. The choice of lectures varied incredibly from equality in the workplace to understanding personalities. The weekend went by very quickly and both were quite exhausted from all the information they had been gathering.

Saturday saw Paula attend a very interesting lecture into why sleep is so important and very underrated in the cause of poor mental and physical health. She also attended a lecture on leadership where she has brought back ideas to the practice to help communicate and lead her team. Fiona split her time in lectures between leadership & management skills and sustainability within the practice.  As a practice, we are trying to become more eco-friendly and these lectures were ideal to gather ideas which we can implement easily.  During these lectures, Fiona learnt about consumables such as needles & syringes which used less plastic, LED lighting units which use less electricity and reusable sharps containers, which reduces plastic waste significantly.  It was great to be in a lecture where examples of being sustainable were already in place at Westport – it’s nice to be ahead of the game, even though there is a lot more we can achieve.

The management stream included lectures on inclusion & diversity and many of the lectures focused on understanding different personalities, using personality profiling such as DISC or the 4 D’s, and how we can use knowledge of this to everyone’s benefit within the practice.  The personality lectures were Fiona’s favourites and they have shown her how to communicate differently with members of staff, as each person has a unique style of communication.

Whilst this was the first time Team Westport had attended SPVS Conference, it certainly won’t be the last!  It is essential to the smooth running of the practice and to continue to have a happy team that we invest in management skills , as much as we invest in our clinical skills. Roll on SPVS 2021!