BusinessVeterinary

VetPartners acquires its first nursing school

A Dorchester-based veterinary nursing school has been acquired by UK group, VetPartners, making it the first establishment of its kind to join the firm.

Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing, a subsidiary of Lynwood Vets, joined VetPartners in September, along with the five-site small animal practice in Dorset.

Since being established 22 years ago, the school has trained more than 1,000 nurses and produces exam results that exceed the national average. The school is run by RVNs Val Belbin and Lisa Bugh, who both have Certificates of Education.

Belbin set up Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing after 12 years as a veterinary nurse, before completing her teacher training at Berkshire College of Agriculture, where she also taught veterinary nursing and animal care. Bugh was previously head nurse at Lynwood Vets, where she worked her way up after starting as a Saturday girl at the age of 14 in 1986, before joining the veterinary nursing school in 2001.

The acquisition of the nursing school is further expansion by VetPartners, which now owns nearly 100 small animal, equine, mixed and farm practices. It also diversified with the acquisition of the Northern Locum Agency, based at Willows Veterinary Group head office in Northwich, over the summer.

The school currently provides tuition to more than 100 students in veterinary nursing and related subjects. Part of the team’s role is also to visit practices to ensure they have the right facilities for training nurses.

Belbin said: “Over the years, we have seen former students go on to become head nurses, practice manager or specialists in referral practices. We support more than 70 different training practices across five different counties – Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire. Some are VetPartners practices so we have heard them saying joining the group is a positive move.

“This is a new move for both the veterinary nurse education establishment and VetPartners. It is an exciting development for the school and helps to secure our future and ensure positive growth.”

Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing also runs an Animal Nursing Assistant course and a Veterinary Practice Administration certificate, a distance learning course run in association with the Veterinary Management Group.

Latest figures show Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing’s exam results exceeded the national average.

In 2017, 82 percent of their students passed the operational requirements of a veterinary practice, infection control and nursing paper compared to 76 percent nationally. Some 74 percent of students pass the anatomy and physiology, welfare, reproduction and nutrition paper compared to 60 percent nationally. And 73 percent of their students passed the medicines, imaging, lab, theatre and anaesthesia paper compared to 70 percent nationally.

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