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Calls to add vets to shortage occupation list
It is thought unlikely that universities in the UK will be able to meet the increased demand in such a short timeframe.
Recruitment issues likely to worsen after Brexit 

The BVA and RCVS are calling for veterinary surgeons to be placed on the Shortage Occupation List to address current and future recruitment issues within the profession.

Recruitment and retention of vets has been a growing concern for some time in the UK. Evidence from recent surveys suggests a current workforce shortage of 11 per cent in small animal practice, as well as increasing difficulties in hiring suitably qualified staff.

Placing the profession on the shortage list would reduce the restrictions on recruiting veterinary surgeons from overseas, which the BVA and RCVS said will become a necessity after Brexit. It is thought that existing shortages will worsen after the UK’s exit from the EU, while changes in trade could mean increased demand for veterinary skills.

The organisations said that adding vets to the shortage list is an ‘immediate priority’, in their joint response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence on the impact of Brexit.

Around 50 per cent of vets registering in the UK each year are graduates from the EU, and unless appropriate immigration measures are put in place when the UK leaves the EU, this contribution may decline, leaving a large gap in the workforce.

Research suggests around one fifth of BVA members feel that recruitment has become more difficult since the EU Referendum. Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the RCVS found nearly a third of non-UK European vets and nurses are considering a move back home.

Despite its small size (around 23,000) the veterinary profession performs a range of roles that are vital for the UK’s economy and standards in society. Livestock outputs, worth £12.7 billion last year, could suffer, along with the equine industry and aquaculture. The £3 billion companion animal veterinary market could also experience significant losses as a result of workforce shortages.

EU veterinary surgeons make a particularly significant contribution to critical roles in public health. It is estimated that 95 per cent of official veterinarians working in abattoirs are from overseas, and a large majority of these are from the EU. Reducing veterinary presence in slaughterhouses could increase the risk of food fraud and animal welfare breaches.

Although the number of UK veterinary graduates has increased year-on-year, it is thought unlikely that universities in the UK will be able to meet the increased demand in such a short timeframe.

BVA’s senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz said: “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.

“Vets are vital to our society. Across the UK 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.”

She said the organisations are “setting out a very strong case” for adding the profession to the Shortage Occupation List, while the UK negotiates a longer term immigration policy.

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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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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.