News Pandemic Creates Safety Concerns For Vets

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Pandemic creates safety concerns for vets
17th January 2022

By David Rees

Around 40% of veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses say they have experienced concerns for their personal safety during the Covid pandemic, according to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

These safety concerns extended beyond catching the virus, and mainly related to client interactions at the practice either during the day or out-of-hours, two recent surveys by the RCVS has found. Many respondents experienced conflict between their personal wellbeing and their professional role, and found it difficult to juggle their work and caring responsibilities. Many clinical staff also said their mental health was adversely affected by the experience of working during the pandemic.

A large majority of respondents said they had seen an increase in caseload due to new animal ownership, while 49% of veterinary nurses and 40% of veterinary surgeons worked additional hours due to others being furloughed. According to the surveys, 23% of vets and 37% of nurses were enrolled in the furlough scheme.

In addition, 38% of veterinary surgeons and 40% of veterinary nurses had to self-isolate at some point during the pandemic, while 7% of vets and 8% of nurses had to shield at some point during the pandemic due to being clinically vulnerable.

The polls of the two professions were carried out between July and August last year by the Institute for Employment Studies on behalf of the RCVS. Over 6,000 vets and 3,000 nurses completed the surveys.

Lizzie Lockett, chief executive of RCVS, commented: “The surveys make it clear it has been a tough time for the professions. However, a good proportion of respondents also acknowledged that positive developments have come from the past two years, including the way the profession has demonstrated remarkable resilience, flexibility and adaptability, as well as forging a stronger team spirit under such difficult circumstances.”