press release
Published: 06 February 2020

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opens facility at Surrey Vet School

By Natasha Meredith

HRH The Princess Royal has officially opened the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilties at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey.

A royal procession

The Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities include state-of-the-art teaching aids and simulation models, providing students with the opportunity to refine their practical skills. This invaluable experience enables students to reach a high level of confidence and proficiency prior to working with real animal patients.

As part of the official opening, The Princess Royal toured the School of Veterinary Medicine, where Her Royal Highness met with staff and students and learned more about their work. The Princess Royal viewed a demonstration of an innovative new equine gut model developed by the Surrey team, that will help understand more about the gut microbiota of horses and how they are affected by diet, disease and medication. This new model is a convenient, cost-effective and welfare-friendly alternative to using live animals for such research.

In a showcase of the leading animal pathology work at the Vet School, The Princess Royal also observed a post-mortem examination of a horse. Such a service is vital in helping to quickly identify potential outbreaks of disease and illness in animals in the region.

The official opening of the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities tops off a fantastic five years at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Surrey, which has continued to go from strength to strength following its official opening by Her Majesty The Queen in 2015.

Building on a legacy

More than 600 students are now training as veterinarians at the £45m facility, attracted to the unique teaching model on offer that enables final-year students to undertake clinical placements in veterinary workplaces around the UK. This innovative model, which in 2019 received official accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, has proven to be very popular with students and veterinary employers alike.

2019 saw the first cohort of students graduating from the course, with 90% securing employment prior to graduation; nearly 40% of these positions are with veterinary organisations partnered with the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Professor Chris Proudman
Professor Chris Proudman

Professor Chris Proudman, Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine, said:

“We are honoured to welcome The Princess Royal to the Vet School today, and very grateful that Her Royal Highness has officially opened the Large Animal Clinical Skills Facilities. Preparing students for life as a vet is our number one priority; the hands-on experience they will get through the use of this facility is invaluable and enables them to give the best possible care to all animals.  

“We are also very grateful to the Longhurst family, without whom these teaching resources would not have been possible – their generosity is helping us to teach the vets of the future.”

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Surrey, said:

“I would like to extend my gratitude to The Princess Royal for joining us today to officially open this impressive facility. In the five extraordinary years since its doors opened, the School of Veterinary Medicine has exceeded all our expectations and I look forward to seeing what our current students go on to achieve in the next five years and beyond.”

Professor Roberto La Ragione, Head of the Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases and Deputy Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, said:

“We are thankful and honoured to have hosted The Princess Royal at our School and showcased our new teaching and research facilities, that will ensure that our School of Veterinary Medicine remains among the best teaching institutions.”

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Natasha Meredith
Media Officer (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences)
Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380

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