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BVA sees scarcity of veterinarians after Brexit

Many U.K. practitioners come from other countries.

BVA sees scarcity of veterinarians after Brexit
Pets at Home operates more than 430 veterinary practices across the United Kingdom.

The British Veterinary Association is warning of veterinarian shortages when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union and potentially tightens immigration rules.

The departure, known as Brexit, is scheduled to go into effect March 29, 2019.

“Our members have been reporting problems with recruitment and retention of vets for several years, and this situation will only worsen under Brexit unless appropriate measures are in place,” BVA’s senior vice president, Gudrun Ravetz, BVSc, said in a statement released Nov. 8. “Vets are vital to our society. Across the U.K., vets are needed to certify imports and exports, conduct cutting-edge research, prevent disease outbreaks, ensure food safety in abattoirs, and achieve our world-leading standards in animal welfare.”

The BVA and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found a current workforce shortage of 11 percent in small animal practice. A joint report issued by the organizations called for the veterinary profession’s prioritization in any future immigration system.

“The government should consider the economic and social impact the profession has, beyond its relatively small size, and an overall deterioration in the ability of practices to hire suitably qualified staff,” they wrote.

The United Kingdom has an estimated 23,000 veterinarians.

“Currently, about half of vets registering each year in the U.K. are graduates from the EU,” the BVA stated. “If there are no appropriate immigration measures in place when the U.K. leaves the EU, this EU contribution could decline, leaving a large gap in the veterinary workforce.”

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