Report from EBVS President Dominiek Maes

 Published: 11 Apr 2016 | Last Updated: 11 Apr 2016 10:23

Since our last AGM in April 2015, EBVS has worked hard on different areas of its core activities, with the aim to further improve its functioning, to strengthen collaborations with other organizations, and ultimately, to better serve the public, its animals, and the veterinary profession.

As discussed during previous AGMs, the EBVS intends to submit an application to the European Union for approval of a Common Training Framework (CTF), in accordance with the Directive 2013/55/EU. This aims to establish an agreement between EBVS and the competent authorities of the EU Member States in which EBVS-approved Veterinary Specializations are recognised. During the last year, we have worked along different lines to prepare the application. In October 2015, we had a meeting with representatives of the EU to discuss our current situation, the procedure of the CTF and the template for gathering information from the different EU member states. We have organized a face-to-face meeting in March 2016 with our national representatives to explain the procedure and discuss the information we need. We have also developed a position paper on veterinary specialization that needs to be approved by the European Coordination Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT). In addition, EBVS and its Colleges must show beyond any doubt that they 1) run their businesses in accordance with the European principles of Quality Assurance, 2) have training programmes that are in line with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level 8, and 3) have Diplomates who maintain the required Knowledge, Skills and Competences for this highest EQF level. To this end, the EBVS has revised and approved its P&P during the AGM in April 2015, and since then, also an updated version of the model Constitution for new colleges has been approved. The application should be considered as an opportunity to improve the quality of the EBVS and its colleges. Having a legal framework for EBVS will 1) increase the distinctiveness of the veterinary specialist skillset as it will be a benchmark standard for veterinary specialist education, 2) increase the credibility of the specialist skills towards society to improve animal health, wellbeing and public health, and 3) ease the mobility of our specialists between member states.

EBVS is grateful to have so many good functioning colleges, managed by dedicated colleagues spending lots of time and energy to move their discipline and college forward. Currently, EBVS includes 25 veterinary specialist Colleges, comprising more than 36 distinct specialties with more than 4100 veterinarians. During the last two decades, there has been an annual growth in the number of diplomates of approximately 7%, and we expect a similar growth in the future. Good communication between the different committees and the board within colleges is paramount, as well as running professional exams. The EBVS has received appeals related to decisions on evaluations of credentials and exams. We should strive to limit appeals as much as possible e.g. by running exam professionally and by a good communication to candidates whose credentials are not approved or who did not pass the exam. We all know that appeals are very time consuming, and in the end, there is no winner. In this respect, the proverb “prevention is better than cure” is very applicable in this situation.

Three working groups have been established during the AGM last year namely 1) the working group Communications, 2) Standards and Quality Assurance, and 3) Governance and Code of Practice. Each of these working groups has done excellent preparation work for the EC and the board of EBVS. They will present the outcome of their work during the AGM. The board should also discuss whether it is appropriate to transform them from being primarily “ad hoc working groups” into “committees” with a more permanent character. The new EBVS website has been used since June 2015, offering ample opportunity to upload information on specialists, colleges and member states, and to provide information to the general public. The website has also been used for the first time for the annual college reports and the communication working group aimed to upload on a regular basis relevant news items.

As president of EBVS, I am also grateful to the colleagues within the EC, to the EBVS CEO and the EBVS secretariat for their hard work and the intensive collaboration during the last year.

On behalf of the EC, I look forward to welcoming you all at the AGM in Brussels. I am sure we will have fruitful discussions, and make good decisions on the many different EBVS matters.