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Vet shortage in Wales leads to unnecessary deaths of pets

AN URGENT recruitment appeal has been issued in Wales for qualified veterinarians after animals die due to lack of available care.

A provider for outsourced veterinary controls in England and Wales, Eville & Jones, has said that there has been an eight percent drop in the number of qualified vets applying for jobs in Wales. 

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons now requires vets from the EU to meet a level seven in English fluency, which is a large increase from the previous 4.1 requirement.

This drop has led to many animals needlessly dying from illnesses and injuries due to the inability to receive professional care. 

Caroline Smith, clinical director of Summerhill Vets, shared an emergency she was involved in. Owners had rushed their choking puppy to their closest vets. Upon arrival they realised that there were no vets that could help. 

She unfortunately added: “by the time the puppy got to me, it was dead.”

This issue also comes as 66 percent of vets who are based in small local practices, received abuse from clients while seeing their pets over the past year. 

Roughly 900 students graduate with veterinary degrees from approved universities each year. Vets from the EU would also step in to plug the gap. 

However, the new rules on English fluency which has been brought in since Brexit, has caused a significant drop in the number of EU vets who apply for work visas. 

Charles Hartwell, chief executive of Eville & Jones commented: “Since Brexit, like many other industries we have struggled to plug the skills gap of workers following rule changes, and we are seeing that Wales is one of the worst affected areas for this.”

There are currently over 30 vacancies for veterinary roles in Wales with Eville & Jones, including area managers, export veterinarians, certification support officers and meat hygiene inspectors.

Mr Hartwell has added: “We are calling for qualified vets to seriously think about applying for a role within veterinary public health in Wales, which arguably provides a greater work life balance than working with companion animals and plays a crucial role in ensuring food production levels can be maintained and checked safely.”