New training for overseas vets as experts warn over critical shortage

New training for overseas vets as experts warn over critical shortage

Overseas-qualified vets and vet nurses practising in the UK have been encouraged to sign up for a new training course.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ‘An introduction to the UK veterinary profession’ has been created in partnership with VDS Training and aims to support those who have been practising in the UK for less than two years, as well as those considering working in the UK.

The first part of the training is a free online course, which consists of a series of pre-recorded talks and then a live Q&A session with key personnel from the RCVS, VDS Training and other key veterinary organisations.

The second part is an optional, paid-for online communication skills training session run by VDS Training, during which .

During the training, participants will work through some of the most common pitfalls encountered during client consultations and develop the skills and confidence to communicate effectively in practice.

Ian Holloway, director of communications at RCVS, said: “Overseas-qualified vets and vet nurses are a huge asset to the UK veterinary community, and we hope that this training is a useful and welcoming introduction to life as a UK-based veterinary professional.”

The course comes as industry experts warned the UK is facing a critical shortage of vets, set to intensify in the coming months as new EU export rules kick in.

The pandemic sparked a surge in pet ownership in the past 18 months, while Brexit rules demand more vets to sign export health certificates to move animals or meat between the UK and the EU.

But the number of EU vets arriving to work in Britain – which has traditionally plugged the shortfall in UK-trained vets – has dropped dramatically, inews reported.

The website reported the number of new EU vets being registered to work in the UK is down to as little as 20 individuals per month, according to a private briefing shown to ministers this month. In previous years this figure would have been closer to 80 or 100.

The shortfall could affect the food supply chain as well as pet owners.

Last month, a letter sent to vet practices across the country by out-of-hours provider Vets Now warned it was becoming “increasingly challenging to staff our clinics”. It listed the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic and an industry shortage of vets as the primary causes.

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