Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

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.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.


Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.