Work to be done on veterinary wellbeing

Work to be done on veterinary wellbeing

The veterinary profession could be making progress in addressing issues such as stress, burnout and compassion fatigue, new research has suggested.

The survey is the latest by the organisers of VET Festival to test the state of the profession’s wellbeing ahead of its return in May 2022.

In a key finding, more than three quarters (76%) of the 400 respondents described their mental health as ‘reasonable’ or ‘very good’, while almost three quarters (71%) said there was someone at work they could talk to about their mental health and 80% knew where to access information and support.

These encouraging responses were given despite the backdrop of the pandemic which the survey confirmed has put the profession under additional strain.

78% of respondents said their workload had increased since it struck, with just under half (44%) saying they were working longer hours. Sadly, despite 90% of practices changing their working practices during the pandemic, (85% citing online consultations and 35% citing flexible or home working), 63% felt that these changes had not been beneficial to their mental health.

That there is room for improvement in the wellbeing of the sector is reinforced by the fact that almost 60% felt that their work/life balance was not right and 82% were worried about their financial situation.

One respondent said that the problems they were experiencing weren’t necessarily the fault of their practice, saying: ‘It is really not the practice that is the problem.  The main issue is chronic understaffing in our industry, outside of practice control…It doesn’t help to make practices easy scapegoats for this chronic problem which has been made worse by BREXIT and COVID but…has been a problem for years before this.’

The research was conducted among previous delegates to VET Festival and the wider veterinary community.  VET Festival, which combines clinical CPD with a strong focus on veterinary wellbeing, will take place on 20-21 May 2022 in the outdoor setting of Loseley Park, near Guildford, with the support of MWI Animal Health. A similar survey VET Festival conducted in 2019 showed that half of those questioned hadn’t even recognised veterinary wellbeing as an issue.

Tickets for VET Festival can be purchased here: