The RCVS has published the report on its second survey on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on veterinary businesses, finding a small improvement on the situation last month.The RCVS has published the report on its second survey on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on veterinary businesses, finding a small improvement on the situation last month.

The survey was held between the 1st and 5th May and was sent to the 3,139 UK veterinary practices for which the RCVS holds a unique email address. In total it gathered 251 responses (a response rate of 8%) compared to the 532 responses to the initial survey conducted between 3rd and 7th April (a response rate of 17%).

The main changes compared to last month's survey were:

  • Fewer practices were affected by veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses having to self-isolate. In the April survey some 30% of respondent practices were affected by this compared to 20% in the May survey.
  • Last month, the overwhelming majority of practices (97%) had limited their caseloads to emergency or urgent cases only. This month, only 26% were seeing emergency cases only. The majority of practices (69%) reported seeing a reduced caseload, including some routine work.
  • In the April survey 42% of respondents reported a 51% to 75% fall in turnover, while 24% of respondents reported a fall in turnover of more than 75%. This month, the majority of respondents (46%) reported a 25% to 50% drop in turnover, while just 6% of practices reported a more than 75% reduction in turnover. 

Lizzie Lockett, RCVS CEO, said: "This latest survey has identified some positive trends in terms of a slight uptick in business, including turnover, and fewer incidences of staff having to take time off with COVID or COVID-like symptoms.

“I am glad to see that the framework we published in April has, so far as we can see, provided veterinary professionals with greater guidance and reassurance regarding the fact that if it is feasible to do something safely under social distancing guidelines, then they can go ahead, if they choose to.

"We left plenty of scope for veterinary professionals to use their clinical judgement as to what services actually offer, depending on their facilities, level of staffing, availability of protective equipment, local disease pressures and so on.

"However, it is also clear that we are, by no means, out of the woods and that veterinary businesses are still struggling financially, with some of them reporting a very acute impact of the coronavirus and the associated restrictions on their businesses.

“We will continue to monitor the situation via these regular surveys, with the next one planned for early June. I would urge as many practices as possible to continue to complete them, so that we can build up a stronger evidence-base on how veterinary businesses have been affected. This information is not only vital for our own policy decisions but also allows us to present a stronger case to the Government and other public bodies where we wish to influence the decisions they make that will impact the veterinary professions and businesses.”

The survey results can be read in full at www.rcvs.org.uk/coronavirus-resources.


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