Eoin Ryan, lecturer/assistant professor at Ireland’s only school of veterinary medicine – University College Dublin (UCD) – believes that the Irish government will have to step in with subsidies for rural practices to help combat the country’s vet shortage.
He was speaking as part of RTÉ Radio 1’s segment ‘farmers concerned about vet shortages’ by Carole Coleman on Thursday, May 4th, 2023.
“In other countries such as Scotland, the government will also help to subsidise vets to keep vets in those remote parts of the country. We will need that here as well,” Professor Ryan told Coleman.
“Vets vacating positions due to a poor work-life balance is the real problem,” he explained.
He believes that to retain vets, the country has in clinical practice, “we need to address the issues around work-life balance, out-of-hours rota and salary”.
According to Carole Coleman’s report, UCD’s School of Veterinary Medicine has 660 students and offers 90 new places annually and also trains an additional 150 veterinary nursing students.
Just 1 out of 4 vets who added their names to the VCI’s register last year, trained in UCD, as Hungary and Poland now train more Irish vets than Ireland, she reports.
“If you have the leaking bucket syndrome, if you are not able to retain what you have and you are losing those every year, you cannot just keep recruiting and recruiting, you always have to try to retain what you have, and that is critical,” Professor Ryan added.
One-third of current vets on register qualified outside of Ireland
One-third of the VCI’s (Veterinary Council of Ireland) current register of veterinary practitioners qualified outside of Ireland.
That is according to a spokesperson for the council, who provided information to That’s Farming in response to the publication’s editor, Catherina Cunnane, request for information.
The VCI collated statistics on the country of qualification for new entries to the Register of Veterinary Practitioners in Ireland over the last five years.
Its data shows that in the region of 75 vets from the National University of Ireland (UCD) generally join the register annually.
Meanwhile, the number of vets qualifying from other educational institutions and joining the VCI’s register make up the majority, averaging 128 vets over the last five years.
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