Absence of young vets posing huge issue for rural practices
A shortage of vets is leading to succession issues in rural practices and the problem needs to be addressed, it has been warned.
Helena Madden, chair of the Recent Graduate Working Group (RGWG) of Veterinary Ireland, said the absence of young vets was a serious problem for the sector.
The 2018 Veterinary Practice Survey Report published last week stated that almost half of survey respondents would consider selling their practice to an international corporation, but very few have started planning for it.
While Ms Madden questioned the geographical spread of this report, she said it has shone a light on succession issues facing rural veterinary practices.
She said many young vets were reluctant to take posts in rural practices because of longer working weeks and poor rostering, lower salaries and an absence of upskilling opportunities.
She said many vets were considering selling to corporations because there was a shortage of young vets to take over the practice.
"I was in work when I heard the survey referred to on the radio and although the findings were not positive, what is positive is that it brought the issues facing vets to public attention," she said.
"For the succession of practices to succeed, there needs to be another vet to take over and that's not always there. The option to sell to a corporation is sometimes easier. And one can see how it is tempting, but independent vets are something to be proud of, and they provide a unique service which would be sad to lose," said Ms Madden, who works a mixed-animal practice in North Cork.