About Us

ESVPS is a not-for-profit organisation which was set up in 2003 by a group of like-minded veterinarians with the principal objective to provide attainable, balanced qualifications for veterinary practitioners working in full-time practice. The General Practitioner Certificates and Nurses Certificates were designed to meet the needs of busy veterinary practitioners and nurses wanting to gain a postgraduate qualification without having to take excessive time out of their busy working lives.

Who are ESVPS?
The ESVPS team comprises a board of directors, a dedicated international assessment manager, examination coordinators for each country, a head of operations and legal consultant, an academic board and a team of Specialist examiners. Many of our directors are veterinary diplomates themselves with extensive clinical and teaching experience. Our examination coordinators provide support and advice throughout your assessment and examination process. The academic board consists of 10 veterinary specialists from different clinical disciplines from around the world.
This ESVPS team approach ensures that our assessment and examination methods are continually reviewed and scrutinised to achieve the highest standards and to ensure they remain highly, clinically relevant. We also want to ensure that they are relatable to busy clinical practice and the challenges that brings. All of our training providers’ courses are accredited by us to ensure that you receive the highest standards of CPD provision at all times. As part of the accreditation process we ensure our training providers use our ESVPS approved pool of Speakers to maintain the highest level of interactive and inspiring CPD.
The ESVPS Board of Directors

The ESVPS board of Directors is formed by four members, three of which are Board-Certified Specialists themselves bringing a vast array of clinical, teaching and academic experience to the ESVPS team. Our lead ESVPS Director, Dr Sheila Wills (BSc BVetMed CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS) is a European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine and a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Specialist in Feline Medicine.

Our Academic Chairman, Dr Simon Wheeler (BVSc CertVR PhD DipECVN MBA FRCVS) is a Diplomate and President of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is adjunct Professor of Clinical Studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University.

Dr John Houlton (MA VetMB DSAO DVR DipECVS FRCVS) is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology and Small Animal Orthopaedics, a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Our directors work very closely to ensure the highest level of academic standard is achieved across all ESVPS Certificates and to provide ideas and guidance on the development of new assessment processes.

The Academic Board

The ESVPS academic board comprises 10 international veterinary specialists who are each highly recognised in their specialist area of interest. This includes specialists from different disciplines from all over the world. The academic board also provides invaluable insight into the continuing education and assessment requirements in different demographics, thus allowing ESVPS to develop new, cutting-edge assessment methods. ESVPS strives constantly to ensure that all of our General Practitioner Certificates are standardised internationally but we also recognise there are some geographical differences that must also be accounted for to ensure fair assessment of knowledge and skills of our candidates around the world.

Academic Board Members

Simon Wheeler (Chairman UK)
John Houlton (Small Animal Surgery, UK)
Tim Charlesworth (Small Animal Surgery, UK)
Emma O’Neil (Small Animal Medicine, UK)
Melanie Pastor (Small Animal Medicine, France)
Randi Drees (Diagnostic Imaging, UK)
Lorenzo Crosta (Exotic Animal Practice, Spain and Italy)
Mary Fraser (Nurses Certificates, UK)
Philipp Mayhew (Soft Tissue Surgery, US)

ESVPS Senior Team

Sheila Wills BSc BVetMed CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS | Lead Director

RCVS Recognised Specialist in Feline Medicine
European Veterinary Specialist in Internal Medicine

After graduating from the University of Reading in 1994 with a BSc in Animal Science, Sheila studied veterinary medicine at the University of London, graduating in 1998. Sheila then spent five years in small animal practice before undertaking an Feline advisory Bureau Residency in Feline Medicine at the University of Bristol. Since completing her residency, Sheila has spent 10 years in small animal medicine referral practice as well as a working for two commercial veterinary laboratories. She acquired the ECVIM Diploma in Internal Medicine in September 2010 and is a European Veterinary Specialist in Internal Medicine and an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Feline Medicine. Sheila has lectured nationally and internationally on all aspects of Feline Medicine.

Her passion has always revolved around education and providing the highest level of continuing professional development for vets and vet nurses in practice. Her new role as director of ISVPS allows her to fulfill a lifelong dream of being at the forefront of veterinary education and provision of high quality postgraduate qualifications globally. Certification allows recognition of both veterinary surgeons and vet nurses for their dedication and hard work to further enhance their knowledge in their respective areas of interest.

James Banfield | Director

James is a Director of ESVPS. He has an MBA and an MA in history (Magdalene College, Cambridge); James has over twenty years’ experience in professional and education publishing first with Longman from 1987 to 1993 as an editor and publisher and then at Pearson Group PLC from 1993 to 2003 working in publishing and business development roles until he became Managing Director at FT Information Europe.

Prior to joining Benchmark in 2012 James was Managing Director at KBC, an international education provider.

John Houlton MA, VetMB, DVR, DSAO, MRCVS, DECVS | Director

John Houlton qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1970 having gained a 1st Class Natural Science Degree in 1967. After 6 years in practice, he returned to Cambridge as University Assistant Surgeon. In 1980 he became University Surgeon, remaining in that post until 1997. He then joined the Veterinary Defence Society as a Claims Consultant until 2010. He has extensive experience of being an examiner, having acted as an external examiner for several UK Veterinary Colleges, having examined for the RCVS Certificate and Diplomas in small animal orthopaedics and surgery, RCVS Fellowships and for the European College of Veterinary Surgeons.

He has a wide number of contacts in Europe and has been President of the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA), AO/Vet International, the European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology (ESVOT) and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS). He is an RCVS Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology and in Small Animal Orthopaedics, and a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. He is currently European Associate Editor for Veterinary Surgery, a panellist for the BVA/KC hip and elbow dysplasia schemes and a European Specialist in Veterinary Surgery. In 1985 he was awarded the BSAVA Simon Award for outstanding contributions to Veterinary Surgery. He has published extensively and has co-edited five text books. Beyond veterinary medicine, his major interest is gundogs, and working Labradors in particular.

Professor Simon J. Wheeler | Academic Chairman

Simon Wheeler, born in Wales, graduated from the University of Bristol in 1981. After working in veterinary practice, he gained a PhD in neurology from the University of London. He is a founder Diplomate and President of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. He held academic positions at North Carolina State University and University of London. He holds an MBA from The Open University Business School, Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is adjunct Professor of Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine – North Carolina State University.

Ana Rocha | Head of Operations and Legal Consultant

Ana is Operations Manager and Legal Consultant for ESVPS. She has joined the organization with great enthusiasm aiming to further develop the high standards set up from start.

She graduated at law in Coimbra, Portugal and previously worked in several major companies improving her skills in client management, quality control and supervising client management teams. She has also worked on a legal office as a consultant. She joined the Improve International company in 2007 as business manager overseeing the delivery of the portfolio of courses in the different managed courses from Oporto that include Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Peru. She also works as the HR coordinator in the offices as well as a legal consultant.

Her range of expertise allows her to provide support on different areas with upper management on new projects and coordinating the existing ones.

Vera Vicinanza DVM (Hons) MSc PGCE | International Assessment Manager

Always interested in Science and Education, Vera Vicinanza is the International Assessment Manager at ESVPS. She is a qualified veterinary surgeon from the Italian “Federico II” University of Naples. During her studies and later on, she collaborated with Veterinarians Beyond Borders participating in International Cooperation Projects and Education to Sustainable Development Projects, completing her thesis on infectious disease in Sahrawi Refugee Camps in the Sahara Desert (Algeria).

After moving to Barcelona (Spain), she worked in general veterinary practice and obtained her PGCE (Science teaching) from the UB (University of Barcelona) and her MSc in Clinical Behaviour from the UAB (Autónoma University of Barcelona), investigating “The Influence of Nutrition on Behaviour” and presenting her work in the First GRETCA Congress (Cordoba, Spain. 2012). She worked as freelance collaborating with Veterinary Clinics as Behaviour Consultant and with different companies through meetings and seminars on human-animal interaction and Animal Behaviour. She fulfilled her passion for Education working as L&D Manager for a Spanish Nationwide Company delivering training for veterinary nurses and lecturing in Biology and in Food Safety and Hygiene for different companies.

She is writer for different magazines in Spanish on Human-Animal Interaction, Responsible Ownership and Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

After moving to the UK in 2013, she worked for the Cambridge e-learning Institute delivering training in Animal Behaviour and Welfare to students from all over the world and collaborated with the International Cat Care in students’ assessment. Her passion for non-profit organisations and Animal Welfare, lead her to collaborate with the local branches of the RSPCA and Cats Protection.

ESVPS Country Representatives

Georgia Stone | Candidate Manager

Georgia joined ESVPS as UK Examination Coordinator in March 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Industries (from the Queensland University of Technology, in Australia), and a second undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medical Sciences (from The University of Nottingham). Georgia has worked as both an in-house writer and freelance writer, but her most recent position was Care Manager for a hedgehog rescue, where she was responsible for the care of up to 200 hedgehogs and hoglets. Georgia hopes to use her veterinary background to further support ESVPS candidates.

Ivete Ribeiro | ISVPS French Examination Coordinator

Ivete Ribeiro studied Music at the Music Conservatory in Aveiro. In 2009 she graduated in Languages and Publishing Studies in the University of Aveiro, where in 2012, she obtained a Masters in Languages, Literatures and Cultures. In 2014 she attended a course of International Commerce and in 2016, she completed a post-graduation in Legal Translation of French in the same university. In 2009, she started working as a music teacher at the elementary school. Before joining the ESPVS as French Examination Coordinator, she worked in a 3D Printing Company’s customer service team. She has also been working as a French translator of legal documents since 2010.

Patricia Silva DVM | Spanish and Portuguese Examination Coordinator

Patrícia Silva graduated from the University of Porto in 2013.

She participated in several externships in small animal clinics and hospitals. She did her curricular internship at Hospital Veterinário de Gaia and at Hospital Clínic Veterinari da Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

In 2013 she started working in a clinic and, later, also worked at a small animal hospital and as a sales representative. In 2014 she got a pedagogical skills certificate and in 2015 she completed the MBA for veterinarians.

Beyond veterinary medicine, her interests include animal behaviour and management.

Maria ‘Titti’ Villa | Italian Examination Coordinator

Titti Villa is a qualified Veterinary Technician, and joined ESVPS as the Italian Examination Coordinator c/o SCIVAC, Cremona (IT) in 2014. Titti has scientific training, high level of experience about sales line management, employee relations with pet shop, veterinary pharmacy, wholesaler.

Titti’s role includes coordination and management of sales activities as consultant for product for animal health, coordination of breeder’s line events, employee relationship with veterinary and organisation veterinary scientific’s events.Titti’s strenghts are team oriented, problem solving, excellent independent business and team worker capacity, able to maintain and develop professional relations.

Tatjana Maier-Wentz | German Examination Coordinator

Tatjana Maier-Wentz joined the ESVPS team of exam coordinators beginning of 2019 and will be responsible for ESVPS candidates in German speaking countries. Born in southern Germany she studied Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. She worked a few years full time in small animal practice until she reduced hours when her oldest daughter was born in 2013. Still she stayed part time in practice, even with her family grown now to five people. In 2015 she added a postgraduate course programme to her tight schedule and completed GPCert Ophthalmology in 2016. In her free time, she enjoys nature with her two senior Shelties and loves needlework and other handcrafts with or for the kids. In her favourite holidays she explores foreign countries and cultures in a campervan with her family. She is happy to support you on your way to your GPCert!

Maria José Agüero | Spanish and Portuguese Examination Coordinator

Maria José Agüero, born in San Juan, Argentina, graduated in Social Work and has lived in the city of Porto, Portugal since 2014.

She began her academic career at the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina (2008/2012), having also studied at the Instituto Politécnico de México, Mexico City (2012) and at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City (2013). Maria completed her studies at the Instituto de Serviço Social do Porto, Portugal (2014/2016) and has participated in different projects in the social and healthcare area in Argentina, Mexico, and Portugal.

ESVPS Support Team

Emma Rolfe | Head of Marketing

Emma joined ESVPS in July 2018. Before this she worked in marketing for an exhibitions company. She has previously obtained a Master’s degree in Communications, Media Practice and Public Relations. 

Accreditation Committee:

To achieve ESVPS accreditation a course provider must provide/fulfil the set criteria, which is evaluated by the accreditation committee. Please refer to the accreditation page for further details.

Validation Review Panel:

This is not a formal committee of ESVPS but is an integral part of the examination process.  The Validation Review Panel is responsible for reviewing and benchmarking all submitted examination questions. Members of the Validation Review Panel are General Practitioner Certificate holders and academics.

Recent News

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email below to get updates and news from ESVPS


Alexandra House
Whittingham Drive
Wroughton, Swindon
SN4 0QJ, UK.

Tel: 01793208124
Email: english@esvps.org