Meet the speakers

Read on to find out more about this year’s conference speakers.

Jamie Walker


Pain scoring – a sore point for your team?

Jamie Walker, MA VetMB MRCVS, is the Technical Services Manager at Dechra Veterinary Products. Jamie qualified from the University of Cambridge in 2004, and spent four years as a small animal practitioner in a mixed practice near Liverpool before joining Dechra. Jamie is particularly interested in anaesthesia and analgesia and regularly answers technical enquiries from vets on Comfortan.

Geoff Duncan


Pain scoring – a sore point for your team?

Geoff qualified from University of Liverpool in 2007 and started his veterinary career as an assistant at a small animal hospital in the North East of England. In 2011 he took the role of Clinical Director at the same hospital for a further three years before joining Dechra in 2014 as a Field Based Veterinary Technical Advisor. Geoff splits his time between regional activities in the South of England supporting practices and hosting CPD events, supporting vets in practice on the technical support system and providing the veterinary guidance to Dechra’s anaesthesia and analgesia portfolio.

Matt Gurney

BVSc CertVA PgCertVBM DipECVAA MRCVS EBVS European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia & Analgesia RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia & Analgesia

The complex anaesthetic – nightmare or sweet dream?

Matt graduated from University of Liverpool in 2003 and spent several years enjoying mixed practice before returning to Liverpool to undertake a residency in anaesthesia and analgesia. Since 2009 he has worked at Northwest Veterinary Specialists, a multidisciplinary specialist hospital in Cheshire. Matt’s main interests are in pain management in both the acute and chronic setting.

Sarah Heath


Mysteries of moggie behaviour

Sarah qualified from Bristol University and spent four years in mixed general practice before setting up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. She is an RCVS and European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine. Sarah is an External Lecturer in small animal behavioural medicine at University of Liverpool and a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist under the ASAB accreditation scheme. She sees clinical cases across North West England. In 2002 Sarah became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine (formerly the ECVBM-CA) and served as President from 2002 to 2008 and is currently Treasurer of the College. Sarah has a special interest in the interplay between behaviour and physical illness in dogs and cats and particularly in the role of pain. Sarah promotes the recognition of emotional health issues in companion animals and the role of the veterinary profession in safeguarding the welfare of animals in this context. She lectures extensively at home and abroad on behavioural topics and is an author, co-author and editor of several books including Behavioural Medicine for Small Animals and Feline Behavioural Health and Welfare, both published by Elsevier.

Iain Cope

RCVS recognized Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

As sick as a parrot – common exotic conditions

Iain Cope has worked with rabbits, exotic pets, wildlife and zoo animals since he graduated in 2006 from Edinburgh University. He gained his certificate in Zoological Medicine in 2011 and since 2014 is an RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine. He is JVP of Newmarket Vets4Pets and works with rabbit and exotic/zoo species in particular. He teaches nurses and veterinary surgeons on exotic species and also talks internationally. He has been published in peer-reviewed veterinary journals. He is on the board for the journal UK VET: Companion Animal, is currently the ARAV International Representative for UK and Ireland, and is chair for the organising committee for the upcoming international conference ICARE 2019.

Sarah Endersby

BVetMed (Hons) MRCVS

Blocked cats: relieving the pressure

Sarah qualified from the Royal Veterinary College and has worked in both mixed and small animal clinics. Sarah worked for six years as a veterinary advisor for a pharmaceutical company before joining International Cat Care in 2017 as the Veterinary Development Manager. One of her responsibilities is ISFM’s Cat Friendly Clinic programme. Sarah enjoys helping clinics around the globe learn to create a cat-friendly environment and loves seeing the enthusiasm of veterinary teams as they find solutions to make this happen within their clinics.

Nicola Ackerman

BSc(Hons) RVN CertSAN CertVNECC VTS(Nutrition) HonMBVNA

Food for thought

Nicola is the Head Medical Nurse at The Veterinary Hospital in Plymouth. She is a past officer of the BVNA and past editor of Veterinary Nursing Journal. She has sat on the Veterinary Products Committee for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (Government body) for the last eight years. She has contributed to many veterinary publications and textbooks and is the editor for Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. She has won many awards, including the BVNA Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse of the Year and CAW Barbara Cooper Professional Development Award for outstanding service to the veterinary nurse profession. She is an Honorary member of the BVNA.

Kassie Hill

Fdsc RVN REVN E-SQP – Equine and Small Animal Bandaging Angel – South East and South Central

Bandaging Angels to the rescue: protect your wound care and bandaging skills from unravelling

Kassie joined Cliffe Equine in 2011 following completion of her veterinary nursing degree in small animals at the University of Brighton. She gained the equine veterinary nursing top-up in 2013. Kassie has been part of the equine world since helping out at an event yard in her early teens, realising that she gained immense satisfaction from rehabilitating horses following injury.

Kassie has since become a qualified clinical coach, an SQP, and joined the Veterinary Wound Library Bandaging Angels team. In her spare time Kassie can be found helping with the family’s eventing team or walking her dogs.

Ali King

RVN NCert PracTec

Bandaging Angels to the rescue: protect your wound care and bandaging skills from unravelling

Ali has been in practice since 1995, qualifying in 1997. As well as general practice, she has worked in several referral practices and emergency/out of hours. Ali has been involved with the Veterinary Wound Library since 2009, her main passions are wound management and cats.

Outside the veterinary world Ali is director of a motorsport business owned by her partner Nick and spends many weekends in a race paddock helping with tyre fitting as well as running the hospitality for an MX-5 race series.

Samantha Tanfield

RVN, A1 Assessor, Cert in Education (FE)

Blood, sweat and smears

Samantha Tanfield is an RVN with 15 years’ experience in small animal and mixed practice. She left mainstream practice to teach at a further education College in East Yorkshire, teaching L1 – L3 Animal Care/Management and later leading the L3 Veterinary Nursing course. Samantha has worked for IDEXX Laboratories since September 2014 working full time as the VN Trainer, delivering practical lab workshops across the UK Samantha lives near York with her husband and two cockapoos, Lola & Frankie.

Trude Thomas

Regional People Manager

Top tips on opening those honest conversations

Trude Thomas is a Regional People Manager in the East region and joined the Vet Group in in April 2017, having previously worked in Human Resources in Human Healthcare. Her particular interests lie in dispute resolution, coaching, team building and practice development.

She originally hails from Swindon (not far from the Support Office), has lived in Brussels, Lisbon and Madrid and currently lives in Brighton where she enjoys the full range of social activities on offer – from paddling round the Pier in the summer, to Burning the Clocks on the beach in the winter – and walking her dog Buddy on the beach all year round.

Trevor Bell

Building a ‘happiness hour’

Trevor Bell, is a Specialist Mental Health Trainer (previously Occupational Health Therapist) who is a prominent figure behind Mental Health First Aid England. In 2012, he was recognised by the House of Lords and given an award for his contribution to the development of the MHFA course and to increasing mental health literacy in the UK. He has been working with the RCVS since 2014 and delivers courses for numerous large organisations.

The Mind Matters initiative was set up by the RCVS in response to studies which showed that the suicide rate amongst veterinary surgeons is three times greater than that of the general population. BSAVA announced at Congress this year that it would support the initiative through regional CPD aimed at helping attendees gain a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health.

Kay Woodburn

Founder of Gritty People

Express ‘Gritty Mind Tidy’

Kay loves working with new people and helping them discover the secrets of effective human interaction. Family life, L&D Corporate Career and passion to help people get grittier led to the founding of Gritty People in 2013. Over the last four years she and the team at Gritty People have done just that, supported and coaching people through their Gritty Journey.

Kathryn Humphreys

Qualifications RVN, Head of Nursing Services, Northwest Veterinary Specialists

A Nurse’s view of a referral centre

Kathryn qualified as an RVN 12 years ago in a busy first opinion centre in North Wales. She moved into referral nursing focusing on neurology, eight months’ after qualification and remained in a neurology based nursing role for a period of four years. Seeking more variety, she moved to NWVS as a multi-discipline nurse rotating through surgical, medical and inpatient care departments, but developed a passion for medical nursing. Kathryn chose to specialise within this discipline and was later placed within a charge nurse role. As her experience within this role grew, she developed a keen interest in effective patient pathways and department organisation and was later appointed the role of Medicine and Diagnostics Nurse Team Leader which she held for two and half years. The success of the department grew, and whilst on maternity leave with her second child, she successfully applied for the Head of Nursing role, Kathryn returned to work early to undertake a nursing restructure and the nursing team grows from strength to strength.

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