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Financial pressures and ‘being on call’ crippling vets’ mental health

Financial pressures are the biggest contributor to mental health difficulties in the veterinary industry.

That is according to the findings of a survey the VCI conducted as part of its strategic plan (2019-2023).

The body issued a survey to 3,000 registrants regarding the veterinary profession’s biggest challenges.

83% listed the above factor as the main challenge, while 83% cited the provision of 24-hour care (‘being on call).

84% said customer/client expectations, while 61% of registrants opted for other pressure, such as managing staff and being managed.

A further 56% said other pressures relating to administrative and legislative burdens.

9% answered an exposure to medicines and toxic materials, while some 8% said exposure to diseases and a further 13% said other.

Again, the body asked respondents to rank the importance of issues impacting the profession from a choice of three options that it provided.

79% said the mental health of veterinary practitioners, while 14% cited the role of a veterinary nurse, and 7% voted for VCI collaboration.

Overall, the survey found that the three biggest challenges facing the veterinary profession today are:

  • Work-life balance/mental health;
  • Staff retention and shortage of vets in large animal/rural practices;
  • Corporate ownership.
Mental health awareness and support 

To address this, the VCI stated that it will support mental health awareness, increase oversight in veterinary practice premises to protect “high” standards.

Furthermore, it outlined that it will seek to address staff retention and shortages through “meaningful” research and data analysis to inform future policy.

The VCI said that it will “actively seek” to support the mental health and well-being of its registrants.

It stated that it will continue to continue to support organisations and trusts to assist and support members of the professions in difficulty.

Furthermore, it stated that it will collaborate and liaise with partner and related organisations, to seek to promote and support the mental health of registrants.

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