Five IVC Evidensia colleagues included in Petplan Awards finalists list for 2024

March 11, 2024

[Kirsty Richards, top left, Laura Hearst, bottom left, Alison Hammond, centre, Rachel Tring, top right and Jo Moore, bottom right]

The recent finalists list for this year’s Petplan Awards was release last week, and it came with the great news that five out of the fifteen total finalists were IVC Evidensia colleagues.

Out of 38,500 nominations, the finalists were whittled down to just fifteen, and to see talented veterinary professionals from IVC Evidensia making up a third of these finalists is wonderful news. 

We caught up with each finalist to share their stories ahead of the awards ceremony at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester on 21 March 2024.

Kirsty Richards – finalist in Vet of the Year category

Our first finalist, Kirsty Richards, comes from Tower Veterinary Centre in Perth, where she has been a Veterinary Surgeon for almost 4 years now. 

She graduated from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in July 2016 and ended up starting at Tower Vets during the pandemic. From there she has gone on from strength to strength, where she experiences the highs and lows of general practice in amongst different surgeries and taking on the challenge of diagnosing complex medical cases.

Kirsty commented on her nomination:

“It is hugely exciting but also totally unexpected and therefore a bit overwhelming! I love being able to build a relationship with my patients, clients and colleagues at work so being recognised and nominated by them in the veterinary awards is a fantastic honour. 

“Since the nomination has come as such a surprise it is difficult to know what to attribute it to! I really enjoy my job and always strive to do my best for my patients and clients. I feel we have a great team at Tower Vets and we are always supporting each other.”

Alison Hammond - finalist in Vet of the Year category 

Another finalist in the Vet of the Year category is Alison Hammond, a Veterinary Surgeon from Mainstone Vets in Romsey.

After graduating in 1986, Alison has been in general practice ever since, and has been in her current role at Mainstone for just over 23 years. There she has contributed to the practice achieving Cat-Friendly Status, promoting Positive Pawprint best practice and organising social activities as Community Liaison with local schools.

Alison gave us her thoughts on her inclusion as a finalist:

“I was delighted to receive a nomination for the Petplan Vet of the Year award, but to be in the final three is quite overwhelming. 

“Personally, I don't know that I have done anything special to deserve it, but colleagues think I should emphasise the ways I go above and beyond in all aspects of work. None of what I achieve can be done without the support and encouragement of the team I work with. 

“I hope that whatever the outcome of the finals, I can continue to enjoy my work, and contribute to the practice and profession I have so enjoyed being part of.”

Laura Hearst – finalist in Vet Nurse of the Year category

After having been registered as a veterinary nurse for less than a year, Laura Hearst has made the final three finalists for Vet Nurse of the Year. 

She started working in Garden Lodge Veterinary Clinic in Belfast in April 2018 and began as an animal care assistant, before carrying out her nurse training and earning her accreditation as an RVN. She continues to hone her nursing skills and hopes that she can help other trainee nurses begin their own journey into the veterinary profession. 

Laura commented on her announcement as a finalist:

“It means a massive deal to be to even be considered for this award, I am really honoured to have made the list of finalists.

“I am very grateful for my team’s continuous support especially over the past year after newly qualifying and I love the bonds I get to create with our adorable patients and their fantastic owners.”

Johanna Moore – finalist in Practice Manager of the Year category

Whilst Johanna Moore is now Practice Director at Dave Cumber Vets in Dorset, she has worked in many different roles during her veterinary career, which began back in 2009.

She has been in her current role since September 2023, but was Practice Manager for 7 years prior to that and also had a stint in equine practice during her career in veterinary.

Johanna has been in a position to understand what staff need to be able to fulfil their roles and also enjoy their jobs, which in turn has seen some very positive changes within the practice during her tenure as Practice Director.

She commented on her inclusion in the Practice Manager of the Year category:

“I feel very honoured to have received this nomination for the Petplan awards, but it really would not all be possible if it wasn't for the amazing team that I have here at Dave Cumber Vets.

“Being in a position to make positive changes within the workplace has increased morale and given some autonomy to staff, which has inspired and encouraged others to lead within their own roles to make positive changes and develop professionally.

“I love my role, the practice and the team, and still have lots of goals that we are working towards, so who knows what the future will hold.”

Rachel Tring – finalist in Practice Support Staff of the Year category

Rachel started her role in veterinary during the pandemic in 2020 where she moved from a pathology lab in the NHS to her current role as a Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Technician at Pride Veterinary Centre in Derby. 

One of the highlights of almost four years in the veterinary industry has been representing her lab at London Vet Show 2023, which gave her a chance to meet experts within her field, scope out new test kits and further her diagnostic knowledge.

On the back of this event, she has managed to arrange tours to other diagnostic laboratories, trial new test kits for various businesses, improve her cytology skills and validate current test methods, leading to a better-quality service for vets and patients.

Rachel commented on being recognised at the awards:

“I’m incredibly proud of this achievement. I never imagined that my contributions to my practice would be recognised in such a remarkable way. I’m very passionate about my role and the opportunities I’ve had to help support my incredible colleagues. 

“I believe I’ve received this nomination due to a culmination of efforts at Pride; mainly through focusing on quality management, I’ve improved sample traceability, equipment maintenance and staff development. 

“Following the awards, I hope to show that quality improvement is for everyone especially those in a supportive role and that small changes can have a big impact on your working environment and those around you.”

Stay tuned for the results of the awards following the ceremony on 21 March in Manchester. For more information about the finalists, head over to the Petplan website here