A CARDIFF veterinary practice has scooped a national award for its work in making sure all its employees are happy and fulfilled.
Valley Vets was praised for its work in supporting and helping to improve the mental health and well-being of their vets, veterinary nurses and support staff.
They came out top in the medium practice category in the inaugural Wellbeing Awards organised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS).
Mental health problems and suicide rates within the veterinary profession are proportionally higher than the national average, so Valley Vets has set up a support network to help its 45 staff across four sites in Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys.
Valley Vets was praised by judges for implementing a ‘no blame’ culture, ensuring staff receive support in their role, and organising mental health awareness training.
Valley Vets Practice Manager Nichi Tanner said: “At Valley Vets, we regard the mental well-being of everyone in our team as extremely important.
“We have many ways of ensuring everyone’s mental health is looked after, including team outings to boost morale, training and mental health awareness sessions, along with an open door management policy for dealing with any problems quickly and effectively.
“We have had amazing feedback from the team. One of our vets told us how wonderful it was to be able to sit down and talk about things together whenever they felt the need.”
“No one is sure if the high rates of mental health problems and suicide within the veterinary profession is due to the stresses of the job, or simply the type of people attracted to the profession, or both.
“The veterinary profession is working hard to make a positive change to these current figures. Many congratulations are due for all our team who make Valley Vets such a great place to work, which in turn makes it such a great place for clients to bring their pets.”
The RCVS and SPVS Wellbeing Awards are designed to celebrate practices that truly support and motivate their staff, recognising that, while it is critical that there is publicity around increased stress and mental health issues in veterinary practice, it is also important to highlight those practices where teams are happy and fulfilled.
As well as making sure there is a good support network in place for any staff who are feeling the strain, Valley Vets last year organised in-house training from an award-winning mental health trainer, Trevor Bell, which received excellent feedback.
The practice even took their team on an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to Paris to reward them for their ongoing hard work.
The Directors regularly organise parties and other social events for the team, working at their two veterinary hospitals in Cardiff and Ystrad Mynach and branch surgeries in Caerphilly and Pentyrch.
Nichi added: “The team love the fact that the bosses personally prepare huge feasts of food and drink for them and their partners at our parties.
“Our directors believe that, as well as funding events, the hard work of shopping, preparing, cooking, hosting and washing up makes their thank you that little bit more special.”
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