John takes the reins at national vet group

John McFarlane
John McFarlane

A north Northumberland vet has been chosen to head a network of veterinary practices spanning the whole of the UK.

John Macfarlane, director of Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group, which has five branches in north Northumberland, has been elected chairman of XL Vets, a group set up by vets to promote quality animal care.

John, who was a founder member of the group when it launched in 2005 and has twice served on its board, said he was ‘delighted’ to have been chosen.

He said: “I have been involved with XL Vets since the beginning and I am as passionate about the organisation now as I was in 2005.

“I wholeheartedly believe that when a group of practices work together we are stronger than the sum of our parts .”

Members of the group, which now numbers 51 practices from across the country, pool their resources and skills to save individual surgeries money and allow them to tackle a wider range of problems.

It also runs courses and campaigns on rural issues.

XL Vets’ recent work includes carrying out nationwide surveys on the spread of the Schmallenberg virus, which affects sheep, cows and goats.

The virus, which is spread by midges, was detected in northumberland in October, and causes fever, diarrhoea and loss of milk production in affected animals. It can also cause birth defects in lambs and calves.

The group has been expanding rapidly, and it now hopes to become recognised as a ‘kite mark’ for quality care.

John will also remain in his current role at Alnorthumbria, which has branches in Alnwick, Amble, Rothbury, Wooler and Seahouses.

He said: “The way I view XLVets is that they take many of the jobs that are duplicated in 51 practices across the UK, and get one or two individuals or practices to deliver each function more efficiently for the group.

“Our programme for 2013 promises to be our most exciting yet, with some really big initiatives in the pipeline.”