VetPartners breaks new ground by offering research opportunity

VetPartners breaks new ground by offering research opportunity

VETPARTNERS is set to become the first UK veterinary group to offer members of the profession a chance to become partners in clinical research.

The York-based veterinary 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.

In a ground-breaking move, VetPartners is now offering vets and vet nurses, universities, charities, drug companies, professional organisations and others the opportunity to work in partnership to conduct high quality clinical research.

VetPartners’ move follows the appointment earlier this year of one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of evidence-based veterinary medicine.

Rachel Dean took up the position as Director of Clinical Research and Excellence in Practice at VetPartners, where she is also co-chair of their Clinical Board, in June.

Dr 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.

Dr 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.

“VetPartners’ focus on clinical excellence and research is one of our unique selling points and we have a brand that is aligned to quality healthcare.

“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.”

Any research projects will be overseen by Dr Dean and she is looking for interested vets, veterinary nurses, pharmaceutical companies, charities, professional organisations and universities to work in partnership.

It is open to members of the profession working across all species groups, including small animal, equine and production animal.

Dr Dean cited examples where there are still gaps in research that are vitally needed for practice, 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.

“Any research project we get involved in has to meet our ethical, research, data protection, informed consent and professional standards that we have set for our clinical research programme,” she said.

“VetPartners will provide facilities, resources and apply for funding for projects and partnering with others increases these opportunities.

“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.

“We can’t deliver quality healthcare without plugging these evidence gaps. VetPartners is going to directly increase the knowledge base of our profession and invite others to join us.”

For media enquiries, please contact Amanda Little, VetPartners Head of PR and Communications, on 07970 198 492 or email