VET’S DIARY: Stepping down means an extra walk for Minnie

For me, April 5, 2014, was a significant date as this was the day I stepped down as a director of the Alnorthumbria Veterinary Practice.

My equine colleague, Rosie Mould, stepped down as a director at the same time, although both of us still work in the practice.

Rosie is now doing part-time small animal work at the Rothbury surgery but is also doing equine veterinary FEI work, during the summer months, including at the local BE Burgham events, where she will see many clients. She is GB team vet for the British Carriage driving pairs team and attended the World Championships with them in Hungary last September.

She will be kept very busy during the summer months attending team training and vetting horses throughout the country as well as going to the World Championships again. This is an honorary position and receives no payment, and involves a lot of work, but it is very rewarding and she feels very privileged to have been selected to take part again.

As I had been working as a veterinary surgeon for 38 years (31 years as a partner/ director) I felt it was time last April to reduce my commitment in some way or another.

I was still working with a full-time commitment and my interest in clinical work and looking after our clients and their animals remained undiminished. However, this was becoming hampered by the increasing number of meetings, red tape and bureaucracy required to organise and administer a substantial business in today’s workplace.

The clinical vote won the day and I am pleased to find that I am still enjoying my veterinary work ‘one year later’. I found the situation very strange initially in not having the day-to-day management responsibility for the small animal branches at Alnwick, Amble and Seahouses but the reception staff and nurses seemed to find this situation even more difficult than I did.

The first six months during the summer were extremely busy with clinical work so on many days my working time did not appear to be any different to when I was a director but at least I could look forward to being ‘off duty’ when I was not on call.

My wife couldn’t get used to me arriving home at a reasonable time, however, most days Minnie, our Labrador, now looks forward to an extra walk.

I now have far fewer evening meetings to attend and the number of emails to read and reply to have reduced dramatically. This has previously, out of necessity, been carried out after normal working hours. There is now a chance that this extra time will enable me to spend time attempting to reduce my golf handicap which is currently considerable!

I am still working full-time from the Alnwick, Amble and Seahouses branches.

One year later, Rosie and I remain refreshed and enthusiastic while continuing to enjoy the contact and challenges that you, our clients, present to us each day.

So next time someone comes into the consulting room and comments ‘’I thought you had retired’’ – I will continue to say – as a director, yes,- as a vet, not yet!