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Two-thirds of vets continue to work when sick
A small number of vets said that they avoided taking sick leave for financial reasons owing to a lack of, or very limited, sick pay.

BVA survey highlights problem of presenteesim
 
New figures released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) show that almost two-thirds of vets (63 per cent) attended work last year when they did not feel well enough. The Association is warning that ‘presenteeism’ - or people coming into work when they are ill - is a problem in the profession and may have a prolonged impact on the wellbeing of vets.

More than 1,300 BVA members responded to the BVA Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, carried out between April and May 2019. Of these, 69 per cent of locum vets and 64 per cent of employees said they have worked when they have not felt well enough, as did 57 per cent of partners and the self-employed.

Around 18 per cent of respondents said they did not take sick leave because they felt uncomfortable doing so. The figures show this is more common amongst vets under the age of 35 (25 per cent) and female vets (21 per cent compared to 11 per cent of male vets).

In light of these findings, the BVA is reminding vets that they have the legal right not to work when they are not well enough to do so and that any concerns should be discussed with managers.

“We know that veterinary workplaces are under enormous pressure from staff shortages, and none of us wants to feel like we are letting our colleagues down, but presenteeism only stores up more problems for the future,” said BVA president Daniella dos Santos.

“Working when you are ill puts your own health and wellbeing at risk longer-term and can also put your colleagues, clients and patients under your care at risk.

“It’s particularly worrying that some of our colleagues feel pressure to work when they feel unwell, especially younger members. As a profession we have made huge steps forward in recognising the issues around mental health and supporting one another and being physically unwell should be the same.”

Among the reasons cited by vets for not taking sick leave include concerns about the impact on colleagues and worries about “letting the team down”. One respondent said: “Because I would leave the practice understaffed, and the remaining vets would have to work a lot harder and longer as a result.” Another said: “Being ill is not an option. The practice is short-staffed.”

A perceived culture of working through sickness was also reported by some vets. One noted: “The veterinary industry, on the whole, has a 'phone in dead' policy ie don't call in sick!” and another explained: “[I] feel that I am judged for taking time off, even when I lost my voice and was unable to consult.”

A small number of vets said that they avoided taking sick leave for financial reasons owing to a lack of, or very limited, sick pay.

Ms Santos added: “Anyone who is concerned should speak to their manager and remember that BVA members can always get free advice and support via the BVA legal helpline. Ultimately, it’s important to create a workplace culture that supports the entire veterinary team to prioritise their own physical and mental health.”

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VetCT app offered to students and new graduates

News Story 1
 The VetCT app is being offered for free to students and new veterinary graduates for their first three months in practice. The app provides a service for vets to send case information to a global team of Diploma-holding specialists, who can provide advice and support via instant call-back, text chat, written report, or virtual appointment.

Time on the app is automatically logged as CPD with quarterly certificates being generated for users. Additional services include the ability to book bespoke CPD, significant event reviews, and live training sessions such as surgical procedures.

The app is downloadable for both iOS and Android systems. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
HORIBA to host CPD webinar

HORIBA has announced that it will host an online CPD meeting focusing on 'Exotic Parasites - The Importance of Testing in The Imported Dog'. Ian Wright (BVMS, MSc, MRCVS), head of ESCCAP UK and Ireland, will present on the importance of testing protocols in diseases of imported dogs.

The meeting will provide attendees with an overview of emerging veterinary diseases with a particular focus on exotic parasites, and discuss the importance of accurate testing protocols and equipment, alongside a final Q&A session.

The webinar will take place on Thursday July 1, from 19.30pm to 21.00pm BST. For free registration and more information visit the Horiba website or register.gotowebinar.com