A recruitment crisis?

The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) has published the results of its Recruitment Survey which concludes that there is a very real recruitment crisis in the veterinary profession which is set to worsen.

238 veterinary surgeons responded to the survey which found that 52.3% of practices reported that they do not have all the veterinary surgeons they need, with the average shortfall being 21.6% or approximately 1/5th of the workforce.

28% reported that this lack of vets meant that they are unable to cover their OOH without unacceptable levels of overtime.

88% of practices had tried to recruit in the past 12 months, 31% of which had failed to find a candidate at the time of the survey.

SPVS carried out a similar survey in 2015 and a comparison between the two showed a worsening situation with only 22% of practices finding a new recruit within three months compared to over 30% two years ago. 90% of respondents also felt the recruitment situation had worsened since four years ago.

But why is this happening?

An unwillingness to do OOH and dissatisfaction with working hours was cited as the most common reason for candidates not accepting a position. This, combined with most respondents saying that personally they planned to reduce their working hours suggests that the crisis can only deepen and that to succeed in managing staffing levels, employers will have to consider more flexible working.

Brian Faulkner, SPVS President said: “This survey provides valuable evidence to support the profession as they work with government and the colleges to try and counter this crisis in recruitment which threatens to get worse with Brexit. If not tackled it will become increasingly difficult for vets to provide a satisfactory 24 hour health service for the UK’s pets, horses and farm animals.”

The realisation that sourcing suitable staff for many practices is going to be one of the major challenges for the profession in years to come is something we are all coming to terms with.

The Vet Service are actively trying to develop a quicker, more accurate and cost efficient process to do this. For more information on this service please contact us at [email protected].

The full survey is available on the SPVS website at: www.spvs.org.uk