Ben Walton, Director of the Advanced Clinical Services Network

CVS set to launch an Advanced Clinical Services Network

7th August 2019

CVS has announced that it is to become the first large veterinary group to formally develop a network of peripatetic Advanced Practitioners. It will use this initiative to improve the breadth and depth of their clinical service offering across the country, and offer an attractive clinical career pathway for experienced vets.

Peripatetic clinicians offer clinical services on the premises of host practices. It is an established model for improving access to more advanced levels of clinical care, and there has been a steady increase in the number of individuals offering these services. Clinical disciplines commonly provided for include surgery, cardiology, diagnostic imaging and dermatology, although peripatetic services exist for almost every facet of clinical work.

CVS has appointed Ben Walton BVSc DSAS(Orth) MRCVS to the role of Director of the Advanced Clinical Services Network (ACSN). Ben is a RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) at Chestergates Veterinary Specialists, and has had a varied career in mixed practice, small animal general practice, academia and private referral practice. For several years, he also offered a peripatetic surgery service in the North West of England and North Wales.

Ben commented, “I believe that the new network will deliver huge advantages to a number of stakeholders. The peripatetic model is an attractive proposition from a number of perspectives. For the host practices, is allows cases to be managed to a greater depth in-house, improving their service offering, and increasing opportunities for development of the practice team. It also allows the retention of revenue from these cases, which in turn justifies investment in facilities. For the client and patient, it improves the level of care that they receive at their home practice. Visiting clinicians bring expertise into practices through their own knowledge and experience, but also through development of the practice team, thus improving standards across the board.”

One of the main advantages, Ben believes, is clinical career progression for experienced vets, “I believe that clinically-satisfying roles can be hard to come by at the moment. As a profession, we tend to be good at looking after our recent graduates. CVS, other large groups and independent practices have worked really hard on this over the last few years. There are also plenty of opportunities to develop your career on a management track, especially in the large groups. What there is a real lack of, though, are jobs that allow genuine clinical development. Many vets are well-supported to gain certificates and Advanced Practitioner status, but often there isn’t a satisfying caseload at the end of it. Within the new network, experienced vets will have a caseload that is predominantly or exclusively within their preferred discipline, and as they will be performing higher-value work than they would in a GP position, better remuneration packages will be justifiable. Ultimately, we want to be able reward experienced vets well, for doing a job that is clinically satisfying, and provides a valuable service to host practices and their clients.”

CVS intends to develop the Advanced Clinical Services Network in multiple disciplines nationwide over the next few years.

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