North Downs Specialist Referrals in Surrey has launched its first recognised programme to train veterinary specialists. 

The first course will be overseen by Jodie Hughes, an RCVS and European specialist in anaesthesia and analgesia. The hospital’s inaugural resident will be Luisa Oliveira (pictured right), who earlier completed a rotating internship at North West Veterinary Specialists in Cheshire, and, more recently, an anaesthesia-specific one at NDSR. 

Jodie said: “Luisa’s residency will comprise mainly the provision of anaesthesia to multiple animal species, ranging from the ‘simpler’ procedures to the most critical and complex, which we frequently encounter in our interventional cardiac procedures and emergency work. 

“A significant component of the training will involve the management of pain, both in the acute setting (in the peri-operative period) and in the chronic setting, whilst dealing with our pain clinic patients. 

“Luisa will also be trained in the management of emergency and critical care patients and will undergo rotations in other services to better grasp their requirements.

“As we work exclusively with dogs and cats, we will work in close collaboration with several other hospitals in the UK and continental Europe, to complement Luisa’s training with other species. 

“As part of this, Luisa will be exposed to multiple advanced techniques, including ultrasound-guided regional nerve blocks and interventional procedures in our pain clinic. 

Luisa said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to work alongside an incredibly experienced and skilled team at NDSR. 

The training programme has been developed by Rui Pinelas, RCVS and European specialist in anaesthesia and analgesia at NDSR, who is optimistic there will be further training opportunities in the near future. 

Rui said: “This was something NDSR has been keen to implement for some time and we had been having ongoing discussions to choose the perfect time. 

“In terms of logistics, it took around three months for us to set up this anaesthesia residency, which was largely spent organising our partnerships with the other training facilities and undergoing an evaluation as to whether our facilities and case load would meet the specialist board’s strict requirements, which we are delighted they did.” 

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