Wales hit hardest by UK vet shortage

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Shoratges of qualified vets has hit Wales the hardest, according to Eville & Jones
Shoratges of qualified vets has hit Wales the hardest, according to Eville & Jones

Related tags Brexit Veterinarian

The shortage of qualified veterinarians in the UK continued to threaten exports to EU countries, with Wales hit the hardest by the shortfall, according to provider Eville & Jones.

According to the provider, there are around 2,000 vacant roles in the veterinary sector every year but only 900 vets qualify from approved universities. The only approved university in Wales was Aberystwyth, which won’t produce graduates for a few more years.

Vets from within the EU plugged had plugged this shortfall in the UK, but this number has rapidly dropped since Brexit.

Stricter standards

This was in part thanks to new rules set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which required vets to formally meet a high standard of English at level 7, compared to level 4.1 required for a skilled work visa.

Roles in demand in the veterinary industry included area managers, export veterinarians, certification support officers and meat hygiene inspectors.

Eville & Jones chief executive Hartwell added: “There will be huge challenges with exporting meat to international partners due to the number of official veterinarians required to sign off inspections if these shortages aren’t remedied soon.

Crucial role in the industry

“We are calling for qualified vets to seriously think about applying for a role within veterinary public health in Wales, which arguably provides a greater work life balance than working with companion animals and plays a crucial role in ensuring food production levels can be maintained and checked safely.”

The National Audit Office warned Government in 2018 that delays in plans to increase vet numbers in the lead up to Brexit would lead to problems down the road.

Last year, trade unions warned that trade volume to the EU would drop by 75%​ if more official veterinarians were not hired before the end of the Brexit transition period.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is offering to halve the amount of paperwork for goods exported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and slash food, plant and animal health customs checks by 80%.

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