Rural vet tells of fears for future of profession in NI

Rural vet tells of fears for future of profession in NI

The man at the helm of Mourne Veterinary Clinic has told of his fears for the future of the profession as marks 30 years as a vet and 25 at the helm of his mixed Kilkeel practice.

Liam Quinn, who took over the small rural practice in 1997 and immediately set about growing it , told NI Veterinary Today recruitment is one problem facing the profession that overshadows all others is recruitment.

“Getting staff is the big one. Getting vets, let alone experienced staff, is the thing that is curtailing the industry,” Liam explained. “I would like to expand with a fifth vet, but it would have to be the right vet and someone with experience. I’d like to develop into a five-vet two-nurse practice if we can get the staff.

“I’s not just getting the vet you want it is getting any vet at all. Years ago, you maybe went looking for a new vet and whittled the candidates down to your top three or four but now you are happy just to get someone interviewing.

“How do we serve our community in five years’ time if this continues? I fear for the future of out-of-hours service particularly for the farm animal side of the business. When it comes to pets you will always have out-of-hours even if you have to travel but the farming community can’t travel, and my biggest fear would be for them.”

Liam, above, who says he still has “great enthusiasm for veterinary” after 30 years of work, added its hard to see young vets doing so many years at the coalface.

“It is difficult to see the next generation of vets staying with it for 30 or 40 years. I have colleagues who have been at it much longer than me and I admire them. It’s like a footballer not wanting to give up the sport they love.

“People though want a work/like balance and in my day it was probably titled towards the work in fairness. I had two children who went out on calls with me and TB testing, but I always made time for their football or their school or whatever.”

Read more in the latest edition of NI Veterinary Today