House of Lords debates future of veterinary representatives

FIVP’s Rita Dingwall among guest speakers sharing industry views.

At the House of Lords on Wednesday, 21 June 2023, members of the veterinary industry took part in a debate entitled Reps: VIP or RIP? Attendees debated the future of veterinary representatives in the UK.

The event was organised by the Veterinary Marketing Association (VMA) and chaired by Professor The Lord Trees of The Ross, who set the scene and presented the key market research findings that were gathered to help inform the debate.

Viewpoints and observations were given by a number of guest speakers, including: 

Rita Dingwall, business development manager for the Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices (FIVP), who presented the views from independent practice, including those of the members of the federation.

Donal Murphy, head of international and regulatory affairs with the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), who presented views with regard to animal medicines and discussed how training of veterinary representatives could evolve in the future.

Martin Sutherland, director and general manager for IDEXX in the UK and Ireland, discussed the parallels and differences with human health, and shared valuable insights from his time working with the NHS.

Paul Horwood, country head of farm at IVC Evidensia, who gave the view from corporate practices and discussed sustainability in relation to sales representatives.

Mrs Dingwall said: “Congratulations to the Veterinary Marketing Association for providing a fascinating debate on the changing role of the ‘sales rep’ at the House of Lords entitled ‘reps’ VIP or RIP chaired by Lord Trees.

“There was a lively discussion regarding the role of the ‘sales rep’ and it was agreed by all that the word ‘rep’ was not a good description for the highly skilled experts that now act as specialist consultants for veterinary practices. 

“It was a privilege to be able to speak on behalf of the Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices and to have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas.

“Thank you VMA!”