Vet practices under pressure following staff shortages, COVID-19 & the lockdown pet boom
My Family Vets practices across the country have been affected by staff shortages and a huge increase in pet ownership. The situation has unfortunately meant that in some cases, our clients are experiencing longer waits than usual when they visit us.
Just like the NHS, vets and nurses triage cases, meaning life-threatening emergencies are seen first. We’ve seen a big jump in appointments following the pandemic puppy boom, which has meant that waiting times have gone up for less urgent cases.
Since the end of 2019, the UK’s dog and cat population have risen by almost 50%, according to figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association.
Over the same period, there’s been a decline in EU vets registering to work in the UK, partly caused by Brexit. Last year, on average, 60 EU vets registered every month but that has since fallen to fewer than 20.
Like many other sectors, the veterinary industry has been affected by staff becoming ill from COVID-19 or being forced to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS test and trace. The temporary reduction in staff has added to the strain being placed on vet practices.
What many pet owners may not know is that Brexit has also added to the workload of vets. Small animal and farm animal vets need to be available to sign off exports not only of animals, but any products of animal origin, such as crisp flavourings and weight loss products.
Lots of veterinary practices have also seen an increase in appointment no-shows lately, which has added to delays. Please remember to contact your vet practice if you need to change your appointment, it allows your space to be given to another pet in need of treatment.
Our teams are working as hard as they can to ensure all patients continue to receive the highest standard of care. Please bear with us if you are unable to book routine appointments on the same day, we will fit you in, but other cases may take priority.
We want to thank all our clients for their ongoing patience and understanding during this challenging period.