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The report also revealed the devastating impact on overworked veterinary staff, with some left in tears by abusive owners venting their frustration at being unable to find care for their animal.
Anecdotally, the problems highlighted by ITV News are being seen elsewhere in the country, with more and more vets now starting to question whether or not the current requirement to provide out of hours care is sustainable in a world where there are more clients who increasingly expect flea treatment advice and other non emergency situations to be dealt with at 3:00am in the morning.
Various solutions have been proposed in a forum discussion on VetSurgeon.org, including the removal of the requirement to provide an OOH service, for the RCVS to give vets the confidence to say no to non emergencies, a change to the CoPC to require vets to provide emergency care within 24 hours, not 24 hours a day, a requirement for new grads to undertake OOH as part of their PDP, and/or a requirement for OOH centres to have 3 vets on duty at any one time (which could improve working conditions).
As the ITV report pointed out, the fundamental issue is one of a shortage of supply over demand, for which there is no overnight fix. However, many feel that reducing the demands of providing OOH could ease the situation considerably.
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