Veterinary group VetPartners is to offer members of the profession a chance to become partners in clinical research in what the company describes as a ‘UK first’.
The York-based group wants to raise the standard of healthcare across the industry and believes that improving the evidence base through practice-based clinical research is one of the ways forward.
The group is offering vets and vet nurses, universities, charities, drug companies, professional organisations and others the opportunity to work in partnership to conduct clinical research.
VetPartners’ move follows the appointment of Rachel Dean as director of clinical research and excellence in practice. She was also made co-chair of its clinical board in June.
Dean previously founded the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, where her group identified an urgent need for more research relevant to veterinary practice to improve healthcare.
One of her main roles since joining VetPartners, which has 83 small animal, equine and farm practices across the UK, is overseeing the group’s clinical vision to become the proven leaders in quality healthcare. Any research projects will be overseen by Dean and the partnership is open to members of the profession working across all species groups.
Dean said there were still “gaps in research” that were “vitally needed”, such as the use of prophylactic antibiotics in equine practice, the impact of clinically important antibiotics on the treatment of certain conditions and the uncertainty around the prevalence of leptospirosis in dogs and possible benefits of using the L4 vaccine versus the L2 vaccines.
Dean said: “As a group, VetPartners wants to improve knowledge across the profession so our plan is to conduct our own research and become the business of choice to turn to by members of the profession wanting to do research. We acknowledge the deficiencies of the existing evidence and how this hinders good clinical practice and we plan to do something about that.
“One of the problems in the veterinary profession is that we don’t have enough research or enough of the right research. To provide clinical excellence in practice and deliver quality healthcare, you have to have research to back it up and, at VetPartners, we are going to provide both. We will implement our own research and partner with others to be the best we can be.”
She added: “We plan to become the first corporate veterinary group to actively open up the opportunity for research and have it as a key priority in our business. We intend to make clinical care of animals a priority and clinical excellence is one of our major drivers.This is a good career development opportunity our staff and for other members of the veterinary profession and we can clinically develop by doing good quality relevant research.”