VPMA ‘New to Management’ Stream Well-Received at Congress

Delegates at the NTM stream listening to Mark Harwood

For the second year running, the Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) has held a stream for management beginners at their joint congress with SPVS. The full day of workshops, took place on the first day of congress, Friday 27th January, and had nearly 60 delegates in attendance.

Organised by Board Members Helen Sanderson and Georgina Hills, and sponsored by Centaur Services, topics covered:

  • Management & Leadership: Can I do both?
  • The People Behind the Organisation: RCVS, VDS, BVNA & BVA
  • Profit and Loss: A Practical Approach
  • Introduction to KPI’s: why you need them and what to do with them (focusing on the top 5 practice KPIs and top 5 client KPIs)
  • Question Time with a Panel of Experienced Managers

Speakers over the day included practice owner and manager, Gillian Page, from Ayrton Vet Hospital, representatives from the various veterinary associations, Mark Beaney from veterinary accountants, Hazlewoods, together with Georgina Hills and Helen Sanderson. The final discussion panel, with collective management experience of about 150 years, consisted of VPMA President, Renay Rickard, Georgina and Helen, VPMA Junior Vice-President, Julie Beacham, and experienced practice manager and director, Pauline Graham, from Capontree Vets in Brampton. Discussions included how to give estimates, the best policies for obtaining payment, and, for managers new to the veterinary profession, what learnings should be prioritised.

Renay said that this networking and learning opportunity was fundamental to what the association offered, 

“We recognise how isolating it can be working as a manager in practice, so the panel discussion allowed for people to ask questions that they may not have had a chance to otherwise. This sharing ethos is carried on throughout our programme of regional member meetings, taking place regularly around the country. We would encourage everyone with any management responsibilities, whether a practice manager or not, to go along to a meeting in their area and see the wealth of knowledge they can tap into.”

Veterinary surgeon, Jo Weaver, qualified 17 years ago, and was attending congress for the first time. Having recently become a clinical director of St Georges Vet Group, a large multi-site hospital practice based around Wolverhampton, she booked her place on the VPMA New to Management Stream to help with her management skills induction. Speaking afterwards Jo said,

“I found all the lectures very useful and in particular “Management and Leadership: Can I do both?”. As a clinical director, I found the clarification between leadership and management particularly enlightening and this has helped me with confidence in my new role.

“I wouldn’t have gone from vet school to practising as a vet without 5 years’ training, so management should be no different. The topics that the stream covered have all been very informative and I am looking forward to the New to Management webinar series that VPMA is offering”.

VPMA will be continuing the theme of ‘New to Management’ in a series of webinars commencing in February 2017. The 6 talks, taking place approximately fortnightly in the evening, will cover topics that new management team members find most challenging.

The topics are:

WEBINAR 1: ‘Team Work: Encouraging Harmony’
WEBINAR 2: ‘Appraisals: A Simple Guide’ 
WEBINAR 3: ‘Difficult Team Members and Disciplinary Processes’ 
WEBINAR 4: ‘Time Management’ 
WEBINAR 5: ‘Communication with Clients and the Public’ 
WEBINAR 6: ‘Complaints: How to deal with them and how to avoid them happening in the first place!’

The webinars are free to VPMA members. Non-members can book onto them at just £15+VAT each, or the whole series for a fee of £60+VAT. Further details and online booking is available at www.events-by-vpma.co.uk.