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Staff slump hits turnover at Irish supervet's firm

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Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (C4/PA)

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (C4/PA)

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (C4/PA)

Laois-born TV 'supervet' Prof Noel Fitzpatrick's UK-based specialist veterinary surgery and animal cancer treatment business suffered a small reduction in its turnover in its last financial year "due to being unable to meet all demand for its services due to an unexpected reduction in the number of senior clinicians".

Asked whether this was due to European senior vets leaving Britain because of Brexit, a spokeswoman for Prof Fitzpatrick declined to comment.

About a quarter of all vets in the UK are EU nationals, and fewer want to work there, according to journal Vet Record.

According to company filings, Fitzpatrick Referrals employed 146 clinical staff last year, a slight increase from 137 in 2017. Company filings do not state how many are senior clinicians, however.

His firm booked a £10.5m (€11.9m) turnover, which was down 4pc on the previous year. It recorded a small loss of £27,000, down substantially from a £453,000 profit the previous year. Accordingly, Ballyfin native Prof Fitzpatrick reduced his own salary from £190,000 to £77,480.

The firm had retained earnings of £1.39m, while the total assets of the business are valued at just under £12m.

It has bank borrowings of £5.46m, used mainly to expand his surgery and facilities, up from £3.7m in 2017. They involve both a charge over a surgery building, as well as a personal guarantee by him, the accounts state.

However, the firm's research and development spending is relatively small, at just £122,000 for its last financial, and £111,000 the previous year, which is less than one per cent of its turnover.

In late 2017, Prof Fitzpatrick's pioneering bionic surgery techniques were called on by Meghan Markle after one of her dogs broke two of its legs in an accident. He was subsequently a guest at her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry last year.

Sunday Indo Business