Practice ownership models must be more flexible, says Medivet senior partner
Medivet senior partner Adi Nell says the profession needs to consider new business models to encourage more vets into ownership, as well as fresh approaches to supporting the role.
The comments are in response to the issues and recommendations highlighted in the VetFutures report, such as the number of female practice owners and a perceived lack of business skills in the profession.
“Client expectations have changed drastically in the past 15 years, but so have the desires of potential practice owners. The world of clinical practice is changing at a rate we’ve never seen before. Owning a practice, along with the other increasing demands on our limited time and energy, is becoming more of a challenge too. This is evident with the growth of business support and development services, indicating an increased demand for that support.
“New practice owners aren’t like previous generations. Although traditional models of ownership are changing gradually, we also need different models of working, such as flexible hours, and different methods of support are needed.”
Mr Nell says Medivet is proud of the fact it remains flexible and adapts its offering to suit the vets and practice owners of today and tomorrow. Women increasingly dominate the profession in terms of overall numbers, but not when it comes to practice ownership – a trend noted in the VetFutures report.
Women are less likely to be a sole principal, director or partner according to a 2014 Vet Futures report and some have highlighted the case for vet schools to develop women’s business leadership potential and skills.
Mr Nell believes more needs to be done. “We’re very happy to have so many women as business partners with us. The combination of clinical freedom, business support and a real feeling of teamwork and care for each other are some of the features that enable our partnership model to work so well. The scope for clinical and business development is huge, and we do our very best to look after all our people as they grow.
“However, there are still far too many bright, talented and highly trained vets leaving the profession after too short a time,” added Mr Nell. “Why do we turn these diamonds into coal? We need to understand what’s driving this and how we can adapt. The VetFutures report starts to offer some of the answers – and has uncovered even more questions!”
The VetFutures report also found aspirations of practice ownership or partnership dropped from 45% among students to 25% once vets start work. To address the “perceived decline in appetite for practice ownership”, Mr Nell believes offering opportunities for vets to expand into other areas of expertise is key.
“I started out offering dermatology referral services to various Medivet branches before becoming a branch partner myself. I’m now in charge of a Medivet region of 16 practices as well as being involved in strategy, marketing, HR and operations, which I absolutely love, but never predicted I would do.
“I believe fewer and fewer vets see themselves doing the same job in clinical practice for their entire careers. That includes not wanting to be an employee for life, but also not wanting to have all the responsibility and burden of individual practice ownership. A big group like Medivet allows them to find the niche they enjoy and to develop the skills they value, to the benefit of their own careers, their business success, their client care and their patients’ health.”
To learn more about career opportunities at Medivet, including partnerships, graduate support, and training, visit www.medivet.co.uk/vet-professionals or email Ellie Sheridan-Swain on firstname.lastname@example.org