14-15 NOVEMBER 2024

Portfolio Events
16 Aug 2021

A New Veterinary Charity for a Neglected Group

A New Veterinary Charity for a Neglected Group

A new charity is being launched to support all those in the veterinary profession who are living and working with chronic illness and disability.

British Veterinary Chronic Illness Support (BVCIS) will seek to serve a section of the veterinary community who are often under-acknowledged and under-represented on the wider professional stage. We aim to support those who are living with long-term health conditions, to educate the veterinary community on what living with ill-health is like and how to support their colleagues, and to advocate for them at all levels of the profession.

The veterinary profession can be tough even on the healthy, and those with long-term health conditions can struggle to cope unless support is made available. Despite it being legally required for employers to make reasonable adjustments, it appears anecdotally that this is not happening. Discrimination is also an issue, and despite it being more frequently reported, disability-related discrimination is less likely to be satisfactorily address than other forms.

BVCIS will aim to provide support to those working in the profession, both by building a strong community and by providing resources to those who need them.

Despite ours being a medical profession, human chronic illness is often not well understood. It is all too easy to draw comparisons between our colleagues with health conditions and our patients, or other people that we know. Neither is likely to be helpful. The personal experience of ill-health varies hugely between individuals, so having a friend or family member with a similar health condition does not necessarily mean that you understand what our colleague is going through. Our four-legged patients do not experience emotional and social issues such as loneliness, social isolation, or financial insecurity, which form a huge part of the human experience of illness.

BVCIS will aim to help educate the wider veterinary community on what it is like to live with chronic illness and disability, and how they can support colleagues who are having to live with ill-heath.

There is currently no voice on the wider veterinary stage advocating for those members of the profession. In order to drive change to improve access to the profession and suitable support for those already in it, veterinary staff with chronic illness and disability need to be represented throughout the veterinary world, including in policymaking, private practice, charities, universities, and industry.

BVCIS will aim to represent those with chronic illness and disability working throughout the profession, and ally with and support those who share our aims in these spheres.


If you would like to know more, or wish to get involved, see our website for more details. Veterinary profession living with chronic illness or disability are welcome to joint our support group, Veterinary Spoonholders UK.

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