Vet James swaps a life of fighting crime for treating pets

Vet James swaps a life of fighting crime for treating pets

AS a forensic scientist, James Tate was among the crime-fighting professionals helping police to crack cases and put criminals behind bars.

Here, James talks about swapping a laboratory for an operating theatre at Beechwood Vets in Leeds, and the support he’s received from VetPartners to solve his best case – finding a career he loves.

VET James Tate still uses the same meticulous attention to detail he needed as a forensic scientist to carry out life-saving surgery on cats, dogs and other small animals across West Yorkshire.

James completed the BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Surgery and was promoted to the role of surgical director at Beechwood Vets in 2021 and, along with his colleagues, is preparing for an exciting move to a new state-of-the-art practice, boasting the latest equipment and technology, in early spring.

The new practice, in converted former offices at Temple House in Seacroft, Leeds, has seven consulting rooms, three operating theatres, a dedicated x-ray room, ultra-sound suite, dental theatre with dental x-ray, and separate cat and dog wards to offer the best possible service for clients and their pets.

The move is a dream come true for James and the rest of the team at Beechwood Vets and it has been made possible by £1.4million of investment from VetPartners.

Exciting times ahead for everyone

“It is going to be a massive boost for us and will transform how we work and the service that we provide,” said James.

“Our current practice in Crossgates has been a great base for a long time, we are starting to outgrow it. It will be a huge advantage having improved equipment and facilities.

“It will open up the kind of procedures we can do, enable us to do procedures in better ways and improve patient care and service for clients.”

After graduating with a degree in chemistry, James pursued a career as a forensic scientist with the now-defunct Forensic Science Service, which provided forensic services to the police forces and government agencies.

He was among the crime-fighting professionals who carefully collect, process and document vital pieces of evidence that are often invisible to the naked eye.

However, he always harboured an interest in becoming a vet and decided to pursue his dream. He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2016 at the age of 30.

With the help and support of VetPartners, James has seen his career go from strength to strength.

He said: “When I started at Beechwood Vets, I had a place to do a certificate in surgery, and the practice and VetPartners were good enough to fund that for me and give me time to complete it.

“Because VetPartners has a large family of practices, I was able to shadow other surgeons at their other practices, such as Woodcroft Vets and Eastfield Vets.

“Doing a certificate is a huge undertaking and you need that support VetPartners was able to provide. The cost of doing the qualification is expensive, plus there is the cost of travel and accommodation when you need to be away.

“Before I joined the VetPartners group, I had a special interest in surgery, but my progress had stalled. Coming to Beechwood and receiving the support to do the certificate helped me to progress and being promoted to Surgical Director has been a great boost and enabled me to pursue a career that is fulfilling, rewarding and challenging.”

Sharing ideas, knowledge and experience across its family of practices is one of the many advantages of being part of VetPartners. It is one of the key ways our clinicians can become even better at what they do and provide outstanding care.

The VetPartners Clinical Board is a vast network of people working in practices and across the species groups, and is one of the ways our practices can connect.

James said: “You have your practice colleagues you work with on a day-to-day basis, but there is a huge advantage to having the clinical groups at VetPartners. You can send a message and get a second opinion almost instantly.

“While we are individual practices with our own identity, you feel a sense of being part of something bigger and it feels like a massive family. Everybody is keen to help out and support each other, and that is so important in our profession.”

  • VetPartners has lots of exciting career opportunities across its family of UK practices. For more information, or to arrange a confidential chat, email