We would like to take a moment to share with you our perspective from within the veterinary profession and the present state of the industry. We currently face a nation-wide shortage of veterinarians. This trend has been apparent for at least the past 2 years and is rapidly worsening. This shortage has come about through an unprecedented, premature exit of veterinarians from clinical practice.
The average veterinarian working in general practice is not only a GP but an anaesthetist, radiographer, ultra-sonographer, dentist, surgeon, pharmacist and sometimes a counsellor and still our profession is amongst the most poorly paid nationally. This is a common misconception for the general public and is one of the biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining veterinary staff.
The changes forced upon all of us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a marked increase in the demand for veterinary services due to an unprecedented increase in pet ownership, and a new reliance on pets in the household during times of hardship. The recently published article, by SBS Insight, perfectly outlines the changes in pet ownership and companionship, and the increased challenges that has had on our profession. The demands of the job, the increased workload, the increased pet owning population and the need for increased resources on small business, has certainly taken its toll.
A positive change with the times has been in the area of afterhours veterinary care. Our semi-rural location means that we were seeing patients out of hours AND operating our daily shifts on top of this, to provide a veterinary service for the community. Fortunately, with the establishment of dedicated afterhours facilities we can now refer our patients to 24-hour emergency centres, so your pet can get the care they need through the night and over weekends. This has also allowed for a healthier work-life balance for our staff.
The comments by Dr Nadine Hamilton in the article below, probably resonate the most with the Australian veterinary community. Sadly, veterinarians are four times more likely than the national average to take their own lives. Right now, we ask for your understanding and support as we best navigate these stressful, challenging and often exhausting times.
We are currently implementing a range of operational changes in order to protect the health and well-being of the entire King Street vet, nurse and receptionist team whilst maintaining the best possible client experience. We will continue to do our best to accommodate all of your needs. That being said, availability of appointments, waiting times and preference for specific veterinarians may be affected.
Our deepest gratitude for your ongoing support.