An Ayrshire-based veterinary surgeon and farmer has been elected as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Junior Vice-President (JVP) for 2021-22, taking up the post at the College’s Annual General Meeting in July 2021.
Dr Melissa Donald MRCVS was elected JVP by her peers on RCVS Council at its meeting on Thursday 18 March 2021. Melissa graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 and, after working as a food animal intern at Iowa State University in the United States for a stint, in 1990 joined a two-person traditional mixed-animal veterinary practice on the Ayrshire coast. Over the next 25 years she developed it into a 4.5 person small-animal practice with a focus on dentistry, before moving away from clinical work in 2015.
Melissa was first elected to Council in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 and, since joining, has sat on a number of committees including the Education Committee, Finance & Resources Committee, and Preliminary Investigation Committee/Disciplinary Committee Liaison Committee. Since 2019 she has chaired the Standards Committee where she has led the Review of ‘Under Care’ and Out-of-Hours Emergency Cover and also chairs the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice Subcommittee.
As well as her work with RCVS she has also been President of the British Veterinary Association’s Scottish Branch and is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Red Tractor Assured Food Standards Scheme and a Trustee of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Outside of work, she enjoys running, swimming, cooking, reading and hopes to have the patience one day to write children’s books.
Speaking of her election Melissa said: “I’m delighted and humbled to have been voted in as JVP from July. Thank you to my peers on Council and, as with everything I have done in my career, you, the profession, will see me put all my energy and commitment into the role.
“Themes that I’m keen to develop as a member of the RCVS Officer Team will be: communication, as that can always be improved; community, including within the profession, within the workplace and within the society in which you live; and continuing with the ‘blame culture’ theme originally set out in Chris Tufnell’s presidency by looking into how we can use veterinary human factors to improve patient safety.”
Other appointments that were confirmed by election at the same meeting of Council was Dr Niall Connell MRCVS as RCVS Treasurer, a role he will take up at the July AGM after completing his year as Senior Vice-President.
Dr Connell said: “It is a tremendous honour for me to be elected Treasurer. The RCVS has an exciting strategy which I am looking forward to playing my part in ensuring we remain on a sound financial footing, supporting projects within the RCVS Strategic Plan and continuing to play a wider role within the RCVS Officer Team.”
In terms of committee chairs, Dr Sue Paterson FRCVS was reconfirmed as Chair of the Education Committee, Dr Melissa Donald was reconfirmed as Chair of the Standards Committee and current RCVS President Dr Mandisa Greene MRCVS was elected as Chair of the Advancement of the Professions Committee, replacing Professor David Argyle in that post from July 2021.
Following Professor Argyle stepping down as Junior Vice-President earlier in March 2021, an election to replace him as Junior Vice-President for the remainder of the presidential year will take place in April 2021. Subject to the usual approval from Council, this person will take up the position of RCVS President 2021-22 following the AGM in July.