Meet The Staff

Francesca Taylor

Francesca Taylor BVetMed MRCVS

Clinical Director

Francesca became clinical director at Goudhurst Vets in February 2011. She qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 2004 and after 12 months in mixed practice undertook an equine internship at Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic near Maidstone. This involved all aspects of equine work including emergencies, anaesthesia, reproduction and inpatient care. After this intensive year she remained at Bell Equine as part of the ambulatory team for a further two years. Following a brief spell travelling and doing some stud work in Australia Francesca moved to Leicestershire and worked in a mixed practice for 18 months before returning to Kent.

Francesca has a particular interest in small animal medicine, especially geriatric cats, but she also enjoys equine reproduction.

Francesca aims to maintain the excellent standard of care that Claire has always offered her clients and to keep Goudhurst as a friendly and welcoming practice. When she’s not working she is kept busy by her beloved (occassionally naughty) Welsh Terrier, Maud, who is rarely seen at the clinic due to her desire to chase cats! She has two children and now works everyday apart from Mondays and Thursdays. When time allows she enjoys playing hockey.

Caroline Borer

Caroline Borer BVetMed CertSAS MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Caroline grew up in Wimbledon and graduated from the Royal Veterinary College. She has recently moved from London to Kent and has worked in a variety of mixed and small animal practices in Surrey, Sussex and London. She obtained her Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 1999 and has particular interests in soft tissue surgery, oncology and feline medicine.

Since she has moved she has acquired Nelson, a one-eyed cat from the local charity Streetkatz, and is hoping to add a few more animals to her household soon.

Karen Casswell BSc (Hons) BVSc CertOphthalm MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Karen joined us in 2004 as a consultant opthalmologist, running clinics here for our clients and referrals from other practices. She qualified at Bristol university in 1993 and was awarded her certificate in opthalmology in 1999.

Claire Devitt

Claire Devitt BVetMed CertEP MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Claire qualified from The Royal Veterinary College in 1989. She has worked in mixed practice and equine practice in Berkshire and Lambourn, doing a lot of race horse, eventing and polo work. Claire won two travel scholarships to USA and Canada, where she studied equine colic and laminitis in Georgia Kentucky and Guelph. Claire has gained the Certificate in Equine Practice.

In 1998 Claire set up Goudhurst Vets and has worked here since then, handing over management to CVS in 2010.

Claire loves all aspects of her work, particularly feline and equine medicine and surgery. She has two children, three cats, two guinea pigs and four chickens.

Vicky Payne BVetMed MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Vicky qualified in 2001 from London University. Vicky has a clinic at the practice once weekly specialising in Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.

Sarah Rutherford

Sarah Rutherford BvetMed PhD MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Sarah gained a BSc Biology degree at the University of Bath before pursuing a research career at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), obtaining an MSc and PhD and teaching on the veterinary courses. It was during her time at the RVC Sarah realised her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinary surgeon and she became a student again.

Sarah joined the team in July 2017 at the end of her maternity leave and has a particular interest in internal medicine and imaging and hopes to undertake a certificate to further specialise in these areas.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and their son. Sarah’s spare time is filled with her two Border Terriers Alfie and Mabel, rescue cat Tink and riding her horses Stella, Boris and Bessie.

Kate Woodman RVN

Head Nurse

Kate joined the team at Goudhurst at the start of 2014.

Since qualifying and registering in 2010 Kate has worked exclusively with small animals and is currently studying towards her Advanced Diploma.

Kate loves all aspects of running the clinic and managing the nursing team but has particular interests in small animal behaviour and rabbit anaesthesia.

In her spare time, Kate has a menagerie of her own to look after including two cats, two rabbits, a fish, and a dog called Dora.

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith RVN DipAnPhys

Deputy Head Nurse

Michelle qualified as a nurse in 2010 and joined the team here at Goudhurst in 2017 as deputy head nurse. Michelle has a keen interest in physiotherapy for small animals and has been qualified in this area since 2015.

At home Michelle has two dogs and two cats, and loves taking her Spaniel to agility in her spare time.

Emma Reed

Emma Reed RVN

Emma qualified in 2013 and has worked in veterinary practice for nine years, she has recently joined the Goudhurst team in November 2015.

Emma enjoys all aspects of veterinary nursing but has a special interest in radiography, anaesthesia and a great love of rabbits.

At home Emma is kept busy with four house rabbits of her own and two cats. Outside of work she enjoys reading, pet and house sitting, and spending time with friends and family.

Claire Simpson

Claire Simpson RVN

Claire qualified in 2004. Since working in the veterinary industry she has ‘accumlated’ a one eyed cat called Piglet, a one eyed Shih Tzu called Lily, and a Chihuahua cross called Mojo. Claire enjoys all aspects of veterinary nursing, particularly she holds a keen interest in laboratory and surgical work.

Outside of nursing  Claire has two children under the age of five who like to keep Claire on her toes and she also enjoys playing netball in her spare time.

Jo Hall

Jo Hall

Student Veterinary Nurse

Jo is our student veterinary nurse who began her studies in January 2006. Before coming to us she gained a BSc in Equine Sports Performance which has given her a keen interest in the biomechanics and behaviour of the domesticated horse. Following this she gained an MSc in Applied Animal Welfare and Behaviour, where she developed knowledge and an interest in the behaviour of our domesticated animals.

She currently runs our ‘puppy parties’ which allows her to help puppy owners address behavioural or training issues early on. She is always happy to assist owners with any behavioural issues in dogs, cats or horses if she can.

Since working with us Jo has become interested in lab work and outside of the practice she enjoys horse riding, reading and spending time at home with her cat Binks.

Caroline Markowski

Caroline Markowski


Caroline joined us in August 2012 as receptionist. She had previously worked as an account manager in the office interiors sector looking after architects and interior designers covering Surrey, Berkshire, Middlesex and Hampshire but wanted to find a job locally. A lifelong love of animals means she has found the perfect job. She has lived in Goudhurst for the last eight years and has a French Bulldog and Labrador, but would love more.