Former VN returns to vet group as practice manager

Written by: Paul Imrie
Published on: 20 Jan 2020

Mark Turnbull and Willow with the new CT scanner.

Mark Turnbull and Willow with the new CT scanner.

A former VN has become one of the youngest practice managers in the UK following his appointment at a north-east veterinary group.

Mark Turnbull, 28, has been appointed at Westway Veterinary Group, which has 18 sites across the north-east. One of his first duties has been to assist the existing management team’s project to invest £250,000 in state-of-the-art technology.

Mr Turnbull has been involved in overseeing installation of a new high-tech CT scanner at Westway’s main veterinary hospital on West Road in Newcastle. The scanner provides more advanced diagnostic services for orthopaedics, soft tissue cases and tumour analysis.


Mr Turnbull said: “The CT scanner cost £155,000 and the total level of investment comes to £250,000, after expanding the site after taking over part of a neighbouring newsagents and upskilling veterinary nurses to operate the equipment.

“The CT scanner will enable us to offer a fast, efficient imaging service, with a more detailed three-dimensional view of patients to provide a quick diagnosis service. We will continually invest in the practice to ensure we offer a wide range and a high standard of clinical services, and expand them where necessary.

“We have further expansion plans so we can offer additional consult times for clients, and we also want to extend our West Road hospital. After opening a new cat-only unit in 2016, we plan to expand our hospital facilities for dogs as part of our growth.”

Westway is the largest vet group in the north-east, employing 40 vets, 70 VNs and an 80-strong client care team at branches from Wideopen to Darlington. The investment in new facilities has been provided by VetPartners, which owns 128 small animal, equine, farm and mixed practices, including Westway.

Mr Turnbull, who lives in Riding Mill in the Tyne Valley, has returned to Westway to assist the existing management team in the day-to-day running of the practice after four years working as IT projects and infrastructure manager at VetPartners, headquartered in York.

He qualified as an RVN at Westway in 2013, joining VetPartners in 2015 when the group became one of the UK group’s founding practices.

Coming home

Mr Turnbull said: “The experience of overseeing multiple practices and multiple ways of working has helped me gain new ideas to bring to my role as practice manager at Westway. I’ve been part of the veterinary industry for 13 years, after first doing work experience at weekends and evenings, and have a great love of the profession.

“As a VN, I’ve worked in James Herriot-style mixed practices and a specialist referral hospitals, dealing with everything from nurse consultations to assisting with orthopaedic and neurosurgery.

“But it’s great to be ‘home’ at Westway and it is all about helping the team here to thrive. It is a very caring, knowledgeable group of people with great skills and expertise.”