Louise and Gillian recently visited sunny Surrey for a conference.

Unlike the usual veterinary conferences, this one was set outdoors and had a “festival” feel.  So called, VET festival, this is the brain child of Noel Fitzpatrick (“Supervet”).

In recent years there has been a move within the profession to improve mental wellbeing, with the recognition that, as a profession, we are in a poor way, with vets four times more likely to commit suicide than the national average.  The VET festival was designed to provide CPD (continuous professional development) for vets and veterinary nurses with an additional and unique focus on wellbeing.

Over two days we attended numerous lectures in a range of subjects by internationally renowned specialists in the field.  Subject areas included neurology, rehabilitation, orthopaedics, feline medicine and cardiopulmonary, as well as a dedicated veterinary nursing stream.  There was also a whole series of talks  relating to wellbeing which included topics such as effective teams, relaxation techniques and dealing with mistakes.

On the middle night we were treated to a rare spectacle – Noel Fitzpatrick (Supervet) interviewing Jonathan Ross!  The VET festival then turned into a music festival with live music and revelry until the wee small hours.   Luckily we were camping on site, so we didn’t have far to go for lectures at 9am the following morning!

This was a really interesting and unique conference.  We have returned with the most up-to-date clinical information,  but also with a greater understanding of the importance of looking after ourselves and our colleagues.  All education should take place outdoors!