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Major veterinary players unite in commitment to evidence-based veterinary medicine

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The University of Nottingham is one of 15 major UK member organisations, vet schools and policy-making bodies, that have come together to affirm their commitment to veterinary medicine based on sound scientific principles, in a new landmark publication produced by RCVS Knowledge and the charity Sense about Science.

Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Matters: Our Commitment to the Future represents the first time this broad and influential group have formally united in support of a single issue.

The collaboration is testament to the importance that veterinary organisations across the profession place on the use of evidence to enhance all types of veterinary medicine.

The publication serves to demonstrate the profound and wide-ranging impact that evidence can have – and has had – on animal health and welfare. It also provides a convincing rationale for all veterinary professionals to contribute to the evidence base and put evidence into practice, to the benefit of animals, owners and veterinary teams themselves.

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham is one of the signatories.

We are delighted to be part of this new initiative. We have a strong commitment to evidence-based medicine embedded throughout our teaching and research, and through our Centre of Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine. Our work is featured in the British Cattle Veterinary Association landmark story on controlling mastitis in cattle, and the University of Nottingham landmark story on an evidence-based educational campaign on early recognition of colic in the horse.”
Professor Sarah Freeman, from the University of Nottingham, and lead of the Nottingham Colic Group
RCVS Knowledge

The commitment is set in the context of 14 case studies that showcase the impact of standout veterinary research and evidence in the 20th and 21st centuries. Spanning small animal, farm, equine, nursing, animal welfare and agriculture, the case studies show that different types of evidence have been key to major steps forward in veterinary medicine.

The full commitment and portfolio of case studies can be read in Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Matters, available for free online.

UK Chief Vet Christine Middlemiss said: “What’s the evidence? An evidence-based approach is vital in all areas of our profession, whatever is keeping you awake at night. For me, it is the threat of African swine fever and avian flu. The evidence I rely on comes from our specialist surveillance monitoring and testing, veterinary epidemiologists and disease modellers. It enables me to make timely, proportionate risk-based decisions that stand up to scrutiny.

“If you are managing veterinary care in practice, the evidence you rely on to underpin your standards of clinical care comes from multiple sources too. Evidence-based veterinary medicine allows us to refine and tailor strategies to be effective and efficient, making full use of existing and new technologies. 

“The profession has taken great strides towards embracing evidence-based veterinary medicine and building on this will strengthen the links between clinical decision-making, policy development and future research.”

Chris Gush, Executive Director of RCVS Knowledge, added: “We are impressed by the contributions from our co-signatories, which clearly demonstrate the phenomenal impact on patient outcomes that conducting research and using evidence can have. We are also delighted that Sense about Science, a flagbearer for evidence, transparency and rational thinking, has joined with us to highlight the many benefits EBVM can bring.  

RCVS Knowledge

“The publication also makes a strong case for much-needed funding for research to grow the evidence base, which would put powerful, robust data into the hands of veterinary professionals as they make critical decisions that can affect patient outcomes.

“It is our hope that the calibre, diversity and sheer number of the organisations putting their name to this commitment will galvanise all vets and their teams to expand their use of evidence in practice.”

Sense about Science is an independent charity that promotes understanding and use of scientific evidence. Rebecca Asher, Deputy Director, said: “This is a showcase of game changers in veterinary care and we hope it will inspire and motivate everyone in the profession.

“We were delighted that RCVS Knowledge approached us to collaborate with them and other leading institutions in the veterinary research community to affirm their commitment to an evidence-based approach to veterinary medicine. 

“Everyone expects treatment for humans to be underpinned by evidence. We now expect the same of the whole veterinary community when it comes to the treatment of animals.”

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Sarah Freeman in the School of Veterinary Medicine at sarah.freeman@nottingham.ac.uk

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Email: charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4417
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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 25 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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