Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Senior Director Julian Allen
Providing veterinary services
to livestock farmers and
pet owners across Dorset,
Somerset and Wiltshire
Over the 60 years since it was founded, Friars Moor
Vets has seen considerable change in the veterinary
profession. In the last ten years, the increase in corporate
ownership of practices has left independent businesses such as
Friars Moor in the minority. The belief of both the small animal
and farm departments at Friars Moor is that independence
fosters a proactive, engaged and motivated team – one that’s
ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Senior Director
Julian Allen expands on this philosophy.
We provide veterinary services to livestock farmers and pet owners in Dorset,
Somerset and Wiltshire. Our teams of vets, nurses, technicians and support staff
work hard to keep a friendly, caring ethos at the heart of everything we do.
We focus on earning the trust and respect of our clients and value our team and
place in the community in which we work. The culture of Friars Moor is one of
camaraderie and support; although our business has grown significantly in recent
years, it still retains the feel of the small rural practice from which it evolved.
Independent veterinary practice and team motivation
Our industry is currently undergoing rapid and widespread corporatisation.
Corporate ownership is soon predicted to exceed 70 per cent of the veterinary
marketplace. In stark contrast to this trend, we strongly believe that the interests of
our clients and staff are best served by remaining an independent business.
»Senior Director: Julian Allen
»Established in 1957
»Based in Sturminster Newton,
»Services: Livestock and small
animal veterinary services
»No. of employees: 66,
including 24 vets
Friars Moor
Veterinary Clinic
Highlighting best practice
We wish to maintain our clinical
freedom and continue to be a reliable
source of impartial advice to both our
clients and other industry stakeholders.
We also feel that it is essential to
provide opportunities for succession
and business ownership if we are to
retain a talented and motivated team
with long-term commitment to the
practice. We are encouraged by the
fact that all of our recent veterinary
recruits have chosen us, at least in
part, thanks to our independent status.
With many younger vets leaving the
profession after only a few years,
citing long working hours, stress and
an unfulfilling career, we consider
employee wellbeing particularly
pertinent to our business. We have
enjoyed excellent staff retention at
Friars Moor, and we count many long-
serving employees among our ranks.
We support staff in pursuit of their
own interests and professional
development, encouraging creativity
and innovation. There are inclusive
structures in place at all levels of the
organisation to ensure that everyone
can contribute effectively to the
development of the practice. Strategy,
vision and goals are regularly reviewed
and communicated to all employees.
The independent ethos of Friars
Moor is supported through our
membership of XLVets, a community
of independently owned, progressive
practices, whose members collaborate,
sharing resources and experience,
to achieve the highest standards of
veterinary care.
A celebrated and innovative
practice – work with
antimicrobial use
In 2018, Friars Moor won Best Dairy
Team at the national dairy industry’s
Cream Awards, in recognition of
our work to eliminate the use of
antimicrobials deemed critically
important for use in human medicine
on our clients’ farms.
Our livestock health team made
the decision in 2015 to encourage
responsible antimicrobial use and
adopt more consistent prescribing
habits. This came about for the
following reasons:
»Increasing concerns about
antimicrobial resistance, or AMR,
raised in the veterinary and
agricultural press as well as the
general media
Small animal surgery –
implementation of best
practice for infection
We focus on
earning the
trust and
respect of our
We have worked with a business development consultancy, HGKC
Ltd, for a number of years, which has helped us identify “non-
traditional” veterinary markets beyond our local area. Dairy sheep
and goat producers are a small but growing part of the livestock
industry in the UK, and Friars Moor is fortunate to work with a
number of farms in this sector. Servicing these clients has allowed
us to develop expertise in this area, and we saw an opportunity to
provide support and services to this industry further afield.
To this end, we launched the Friars Moor Dairy Sheep and Goat
Consultancy in 2016, and we now host an annual international
conference addressing all aspects of small ruminant dairy production.
Now in its fourth year, the conference presents a scientific programme
delivered by industry experts from around the world and has become
a recognised forum for producers, advisors and suppliers to share new
research, experience and ideas. A recently secured EU-funded project
has allowed further development of this consultancy arm.
»Increased awareness among farmers
of the need to reduce antimicrobial –
or AM – use
»Vets in the practice, particularly
the younger and more recently
educated, were expressing concern
about AMR
A goal was set to reduce the use
of critical AMs over a 12-month
period. The target was agreed with
all members of the farm team to
ensure that a consistent message was
delivered to clients. Benchmarking of
current AM use helped to facilitate
discussions on farm and to illustrate
that change was possible. Providing
information on alternative treatments,
protocols and disease prevention
measures allowed changes to be
We succeeded in eliminating critical
AM use in 2016, and these products
are no longer held in our pharmacy.
Our attitude towards AMs has changed
dramatically, and further reduction of
their use remains a key goal for the
practice. We focus more than ever
now on disease prevention through
improved farm management and the
use of new technology.
Client education is key in this
regard, and we run regular
producer group meetings where
we benchmark performance
data to facilitate discussion and
consequently disseminate new ideas
and information. Being a trusted
member of the farming community
is key to the success of all these
initiatives. The livestock team has
also enjoyed working alongside local
and national milk processors to share
our knowledge and encourage best
practice on AM use.
Future challenges and
Bovine tuberculosis, or bTB, is a major
concern for cattle farmers in our area.
The disruption caused by movement
restrictions and the loss of infected
animals is becoming unsustainable
on some farms, and we are seeing
adverseeffects on the viability and
financial strength of farm businesses.
Our view is that current management
of bTB is not delivering effective
control of disease on many farms. We
believe, as highlighted in the Godfray
Report of 2018, that there is an urgent
need for government to embrace and
evaluate novel ways of managing and
testing for bTB, if we are to prevail.
The fortunes of our farm veterinary
business and our local livestock
industry are inextricably linked. We
face significant challenges in the years
ahead. Delivering sustainable and
more efficient food production systems
while addressing concerns about
animal welfare, the environment and
climate change are some of the great
issues of our time. A huge effort and
a multidisciplinary approach will be
required if we are to make progress,
and we look forward to playing our
part as well as developing future
opportunities for our business as vets
serving the rural community.
We wish to
maintain our
freedom and
continue to be
a reliable
source of
impartial advice
Dairy Sheep & Goat
Monitoring calf
growth rates

This article was sponsored by Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster