The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine expects to publish the updated version of its evaluation of the availability of farm animal veterinary services in Ireland by the end of June 2023, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
That is according to Michael Sheahan, director of veterinary operations at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, to discuss the widely reported proposal of the opening of a second veterinary medicine school in Ireland.
He told the meeting that in 2018, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine commissioned the aforementioned study, the results of which were published in 2020.
The results showed that Ireland compares favourably with other European countries in terms of the number of veterinary practitioners per 1,000 inhabitants – 0.43 in Ireland, compared to 0.41 in the UK, 0.29 in the Netherlands and 0.29 in France.
However, according to Sheahan, the study did signal that certain rural areas in Ireland face challenges, with relatively few practitioners operating in some peripheral areas.
He told the meeting: “Based on anecdotal evidence as well as several studies, it appears that retention of veterinary practitioners within the profession is contributing to some of the difficulties being experienced.”
He told the meeting that the number of veterinary practitioners on the register is at an “all-time high” in the order of 3,300, as reported by That’s Farming in this news article.
Shortage of large animal vets
Moreover, demand for the services of veterinary practitioners across society has been increasing, especially in the companion animal area.
Despite the increasing number of vets on the veterinary register in Ireland, he said concerns have been expressed about the availability of veterinary practitioners to provide services to the farming sector in some parts of the country.
“This is an issue not just in Ireland but in many countries throughout the EU and is one we continue to keep under review,” he told attendees.
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