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Recruitment problems at ‘crisis’ level - survey
There were concerns that Brexit would reduce the supply of vets from the EU, compounding the issues with recruitment.
SPVS survey highlights ongoing shortage of vets 

More than 50 per cent of veterinary practices that responded to the latest SPVS recruitment survey did not have a full staff of veterinary surgeons. Nearly 30 per cent said this had a severe impact on their ability to cover out of hours work.

The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) carried out the survey between 25 September and 6 October this year.

Most of the respondents had attempted to recruit a veterinary surgeon in the past 12 months (87.6 per cent), but only 22 per cent said they found it easy to find a suitable applicant (defined as taking less than three months). This is compared with 30 per cent in the 2015 SPVS survey.

Ten veterinary practices did not receive any applications at all, and 61 per cent reported fewer responses to job adverts than the last time they advertised. Almost half (47 per cent) took more than three months to fill a position, whilst 31 per cent had failed to find a suitable candidate at the time of responding. The most common reason for candidates to reject a job offer was unwillingness to do out of hours work.

In further comments, 14 respondents said the profession’s recruitment problems are at ‘crisis’ level. A shortage of vets, particularly those with experience, was widely recognised. A number of respondents felt that universities are failing to select suitable candidates and adequately prepare them for life in practice, particularly general practice.

There were also concerns that Brexit would reduce the supply of vets from the EU, compounding the issues with recruitment. Some called for the profession to be placed on the skills shortage list to allow recruitment from other overseas countries.

The survey also found 37 per cent of veterinary surgeons were planning to reduce their working hours in the foreseeable future, while six per cent had plans to move to a different sphere of work entirely. It was felt that factors leading vets to reduce hours or leave the profession were stress, not wanting to do out of hours, wanting to work fewer hours to maintain a good work-life balance, lack of recognition and low pay.

In total, the survey drew 276 responses, 238 from vets and 38 from practice managers. This is down from 326 responses to a similar survey in 2015.

To read the full survey, visit:

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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News Shorts
George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a £5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.