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Where have all the vets gone?

(65 Posts)
Bossyrossy Sun 24-Oct-21 12:10:52

Has anyone else experienced this? I tried to book our dog's annual vaccination but was told by the receptionist that they were only treating emergencies at the moment as they have lost ten vets; this is a practice with five surgeries. The vets were often young and foreign, mainly from Europe, and I expect finishing off their training. It takes four years minimum to train to be a vet so how is this shortage to be filled in the short term by British vets if Brexit regulations prevent EU vets from working here? Temporary visas is only a sticking plaster on this serious problem, not just for pet owners but farmers too.

Josianne Sun 24-Oct-21 12:30:33

Oh Bossyrossy it isn't a nice feeling if you can't get help for your pet when needed. Have you tried PetsatHome? They currently do vaccinations I know because the ten puppies were jabbed and fully checked over there.
Our veterinary practice has 5 vets, one is German but actually trained in Bristol and married here. One specialised in cats in New Zealand. No problem with appointments for anything although we sadly can't accompany the pet into the consulting room due to covid.
Good luck.

vegansrock Sun 24-Oct-21 12:43:27

The Spanish vets at our Vets4Pets have gone home.

JaneJudge Sun 24-Oct-21 12:49:46

All practices here are struggling to recruit too sad

JaneJudge Sun 24-Oct-21 12:51:46

You have to be exceptionally bright to be a vet don't you? maybe it doesn't attract the right people in this country. It also has a huge stress and suicide rate which would put me off encouraging my family to do it.

It's a bloody mess though isn't it? They are queuing up for petrol again here

Josianne Sun 24-Oct-21 13:06:43

You're right JaneJudge it is very stressful. We have a vet in the family but he has moved from farm animals to small animal practice because the out of hours calls were non stop. Even so he is rushed off his feet, working for someone else and having to cover nights and weekends. The best way is to have your own practice but that is costly and takes years.

ninathenana Sun 24-Oct-21 13:29:31

JaneJudge I wouldn't say exceptionally bright. Fairly intelligent would describe the vets in the practice where I worked for 10 yrs.

Where are you experiencing petrol queues ?

timetogo2016 Sun 24-Oct-21 13:30:28

I am thinking the vets have gone on holiday with the Gp`s,hence the queuing for petrol.

Deedaa Sun 24-Oct-21 13:41:16

timetogo2016 My GP retired three months ago. Two weeks later he was back in the surgery because they were so busy. Or do you consider 2 weeks retirement a holiday?

Fortunately I haven't needed a vet for several years but no doubt the European ones our surgery had will have gone back to Europe.

timetogo2016 Sun 24-Oct-21 13:47:02

It was written as tongue n cheek Deedaa.

grannysyb Sun 24-Oct-21 14:55:52

Part of the reason is that there are lots of female vets who decide to go part time when they have families. When DH went to college to train, there were only two women in his year, now women take up more places than men.

Josianne Sun 24-Oct-21 15:27:43

If you flick through the dozens of vets at Fitzpatrick Referrals a large number of them appear to be EU vets. I'm guessing they have chosen to stay with Noel for career reasons and maybe the high salaries.
And yes, lots of women too.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 24-Oct-21 15:29:31

Brexit pure and simple according to our very large veterinary practice.

Ladyleftfieldlover Sun 24-Oct-21 15:34:47

Our veterinary practice is doing fine but none of them were from the EU. We still have to wait outside while the cats are dealt with inside.

Josianne Sun 24-Oct-21 15:39:21

I think you will find it is a triple whammy - Brexit, covid and exotic diseases like avian flu - that is causing the shortage. Just one issue would be bad enough but all three are putting additional strain on our veterinary capacity.

PamelaJ1 Sun 24-Oct-21 15:40:25

Well the two in our family are, at this moment in time,
isolating in a hotel in HK where they are due to start work next week.
£120,000/yr tax free and reasonable hours.
They have both worked in the U.K. for a couple of years and are fed up of the way they were treated. Hopefully this will be changing and when they return in a couple of years they will be valued by their their future employers.
WWM, in their case nothing to do with Brexit.

grannyactivist Sun 24-Oct-21 15:43:31

In the past I’ve given lodgings to a number of vets, none of them UK born. The vets I’ve hosted have all been in high demand in countries like Dubai and the UEA where salaries are astronomically high, but all were committed to working and living in the UK……..until Brexit. So one Italian and two Spanish vets I know have now all left the UK and are working in the Middle East.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 24-Oct-21 15:48:27


Well the two in our family are, at this moment in time,
isolating in a hotel in HK where they are due to start work next week.
£120,000/yr tax free and reasonable hours.
They have both worked in the U.K. for a couple of years and are fed up of the way they were treated. Hopefully this will be changing and when they return in a couple of years they will be valued by their their future employers.
WWM, in their case nothing to do with Brexit.

No doesn’t sound like it😄😄🙂

I was quoting what my vet said when I asked him why the wait for an appointment.

“Brexit” he replied, which I found entirely believable as they had employed a lot of European youngsters. They were good too enthusiastic and always pleasant.

Maya1 Sun 24-Oct-21 15:52:18

We are okay at the moment. Our dog, a border collie is very high maintenance. He goes once a month for an arthritis injection, no problem with this. Only one of us is allowed to go in with him.
His annual vaccinations were due August but they did call me and explain he wouldn't have have them until Pctober. He is having them on Wednesday.
We also go to the weight clinic regularly as well, again no problem.
They also email me 24 hours before each appointment to remind me.
I'm not sure how many vets are in the practice as they do have 6 different locations. Village and small town locations.
We had a bad experience with vetsforpets and wouldn't use them. But that is just me personally.

foxie48 Sun 24-Oct-21 15:59:33

Brexit has been an issue as many young vets from the EU like to work in the UK for experience, it's a huge problem in abattoirs as many of the vets were from Poland, apparently it's not a popular job with UK vets! Added to that is the number of vet practices that have been bought by big corporations, the partners get enough money to retire and the working conditions for the remaining vets can be pretty poor (according to my farrier who is my source of vet gossip) so they are leaving to work abroad.

Mattsmum2 Sun 24-Oct-21 16:02:37

I’ve got a 6 year old dog and no problems seeing a vet when needed. We’ve also just got 2 kittens and they’ve been well looked after with vaccines etc . Maybe it’s a regional thing. I’m no Bristol.

Kalu Sun 24-Oct-21 16:08:47

Our vet of many years recently retired, however, 2 young female vets have joined the practice and appointments going smoothly.
I recently had our cat in to have an ID chip inserted plus a general check over. Only difference is I cannot go into the surgery and handed her over to the vet at the door, same again when I collected her.

It is, I agree JaneJudge, on the whole, everything is such a bloody mess!

Summerlove Sun 24-Oct-21 16:20:24

I know from a family vet that one issue is that so many people got new animals during lockdown, so they are just well an truly booked and unable to take new clients. They are also struggling to get through regular pet care.

Most are doing their very best and working many extra hours

Josianne Sun 24-Oct-21 16:32:02

As the OP has yet to return to tell us how this thread was supposed to run and we are all chatting in a friendly manner

I went to the vet last week because the puppy had something looking like kennel cough. He had indeed picked up a virus which is apparently rampant at the moment, goodness knows how because he is still on a lead. Anyway the vet joked that if only we could put masks on our pets' noses, the vets wouldn't have to treat half the contagious illnesses animals pick up!

Bossyrossy Sun 24-Oct-21 18:56:46

Josianne, I simply posed a question, where have all the vets gone? How people answer it is up to them. All responses gratefully received.