Reps: VIP or RIP?

The question to be debated at this unmissable event is, will reps still be needed in five years, or will they continue to be the VIPs they are in practices today?

Join us on Wednesday, 21st June, for the 2023 VMA House of Lords debate, generously hosted and chaired by Professor The Lord Trees of The Ross.

After entering the prestigious Palace of Westminster, a lively, topical, and perhaps contentious debate will follow, led by our guest speakers:

  • Donal Murphy – The NOAH Certificate of Animal Health (NCAH)
  • Rita Dingwall – Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices
  • Paul Horwood, Country Head of Farm at the corporate veterinary practice, IVC Evidensia

The event concludes with a drinks reception and a mouth-watering four-course lunch in the stunning surroundings of The Terrace.

This prestigious event is not to be missed and is suitable for all animal health marketers, senior marketers and senior sales partners. Numbers are strictly limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment due to security protocols. Bookings are not transferable or refundable.

Make sure you book your place and be part of it!

Event format

Short, informal presentations followed by a lively debate including:

    • The position of reps in the industry today. VIPs for practices?
    • How sustainable is that position?
    • Will reps continue to be VIPs in the future?

Timeline of the day

      • Access to the room from 9.45. Please note that no refreshments will be served in the room so feel free to arrive up to 30 minutes early for some networking and a coffee in the café downstairs.
      • Meeting: 1000 – 1200 noon. The meeting will start promptly at 10.00, please note that late arrivals may not be permitted to enter.
      • 12 noon: drinks reception on The Terrace followed by a delicious four-course lunch
      • Finish: 14.30 approximately


Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square, London SW1A 0PW

Wednesday June 21st, 2023

10:00 – 14:30

Professor The Lord Trees of The Ross

Short Biography of Professor The Lord Trees of The Ross, FRCVS, FMedSci, HonFRSE

Lord Trees graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 1969 from Edinburgh University, worked in mixed general practice and then completed a PhD before joining Elanco (Rome) as a Veterinary Advisor for their Middle East/North African operations. In 1980 he was appointed Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Liverpool and went on to become Professor of Veterinary Parasitology and then Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science from 2001-2008. He was President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) 2009-2010. He was Chairman of the Board of the Moredun Research Institute from 2011-20. He is Chief Veterinary Advisor to the Veterinary Record and In Practice. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Lord Trees was appointed a Life Peer (through the House of Lords Appointments Commission) to sit on the Crossbenches, in 2012. His interests include veterinary matters, animal health and welfare, global health, One Health and Neglected Tropical Disease, trade standards and sustainability in animal agriculture, and science and technology in general.

Generously hosted and chaired by Professor The Lord Trees of The Ross

Menu choice

To start

  • Confit Gressingham Duck Rillette with heritage beetroot, savoury duck Bakewell tart, salted almond and sour cherry chutney.
  • Vegetarian option: Confit Spiced Indian Baby Aubergine with warm sweet potato, onion and tomato, chickpea curry, green chutney, tamarind, coconut sauce.

Main dish

  • Grilled Loch Duart Salmon with crushed minted Jersey Royal, summer greens, tomato and basil Hollandaise.
  • Vegetarian option: Summer Mushroom, Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni with tomato fondue, pickled mushroom and courgette, confit red onion and parmesan foam.


  • Vanilla Strawberry and Rhubarb Cheesecake with poached rhubarb, strawberry ice cream.
  • Vegetarian option: Plant Based Vegan Strawberry Mousse with gluten-free sponge, light strawberry mousse, fresh strawberries, strawberry sorbet

To finish

Tea and coffee served with House of Lords boxed truffles

Our Speakers

Donal Murphy – The NOAH Certificate of Animal Health (NCAH)

Donal Murphy is Head of International and Regulatory Affairs with the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), the trade association for the UK animal health industry.

He graduated as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin, Ireland, in 1999 and joined NOAH in 2010, having previously worked in both companion animal and farm animal private veterinary practice and with the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where his work included notifiable disease control and farm animal welfare.

In his role with NOAH, he represents the UK animal health industry to government, the media, the general public and external stakeholders as well as being an active participant in the work of the European and global animal health associations, Animal Health Europe and Health for Animals.

Rita Dingwall – Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices

Rita is an experienced Practice Manager and has managed groups of independent veterinary practices in Kent and Sussex. These practices catered for all types of species, including farm and equine. Using the RCVS PSS as a framework for her role, all of the practices she has managed have been RCVS accredited.

Passionate about training, Rita served on the then VPMA Certification and Training Committee for five years and was an examiner for the CVPM (Certificate of Veterinary Practice Management). A past VPMA (now VMG) President, she has worked to raise awareness of equine practice management. In 2008 Rita won the VBD Practice Manager of the Year Award and sat on the RCVS Communications Board until its conclusion. She was a member of the RCVS PSS Group from 2013 – 2021.

Rita served as a mentor on several occasions for the Nottingham University Annual Business Games. She has attended VDS graduate reunions on behalf of the VMG and has presented at various veterinary business congresses and symposia. Rita also contributed to the BSAVA Manual of Practice Management and Development.

In 2020, Rita set up her own Veterinary Business Consultancy and works with the Federation of Independent Veterinary Practices (FIVP), as a Business Development Manager, alongside her consultancy business.

Paul Horwood, Country Head of Farm at the corporate veterinary practice, IVC Evidensia

Paul qualified from Royal Veterinary College in 2000, and after an internship, joined Westpoint Farm Vets, becoming partner, owner and director along the way. In 2015 the business was sold to Private Equity and Paul remained as Managing Director of the farm animal side of the business until 2017.

Paul then diversified away from clinical practice and set up a global leadership training and development company, Sandstone Communications, together with some other interesting people he had met along the way, from global business leaders, Olympians, Fighter pilots and elite military operators. Returning to the Vet World in 2021, Paul joined IVC Evidensia, and is currently Country Head of Farm.

Paul has a Diploma in Bovine Reproduction from Liverpool University, is a Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of Vetlife, is on BVA board, is a mental health first aider, is a founder of VetYou, a financial advice platform for the veterinary profession, and the Vet Voices Hiking Group, and has recently started a podcast called Because I Can.

Martin Sutherland is the Director & General Manager for IDEXX in the UK & Ireland.

Martin has worked and led commercial businesses for over 20 years. He graduated from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and completed further studies at Harvard Business School. In 1996 he joined the NHS in Aberdeen where he led the Orthopaedic clinical directorate. In 2002 he joined Stryker, a global Med Tech company where he held several sales and sales leadership positions. In 2015 he led Stryker’s UK & Ireland’s Trauma division.

Having spent his career to date in human healthcare, Martin joined IDEXX in 2021 leading the UK & Irish business. IDEXX is the global leader in animal diagnostics. He has a deep passion for improving the lives of patients and pets by working with healthcare professionals through the introduction of new technologies and differentiated solutions. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for the support given by industry experts to customers to help deliver the very best for their patients and customers.

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