RCVS releases report on third COVID impact survey

Latest survey has demonstrated a continuation of the previous survey’s positive trends

08 July 2020, at 3:30pm

The RCVS has published the report on its third survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on veterinary businesses.

The survey was held between 12 and 16 June and was sent to the 3,139 UK veterinary practices for which the RCVS holds a unique email address. In total it gathered 196 responses (a response rate of 6 percent) compared to the 532 responses to the initial survey conducted between 3 and 7 April (a response rate of 17 percent) and 251 responses to the second survey conducted between 1-5 May (an 8 percent response rate).

Some of the key changes from the last survey identified in the report were that:

  • Generally, this survey indicates an improving picture with a marked increase in practices running a “near normal caseload” and practice turnover data reflect a shift back towards normality.
  • Fewer staff are self-isolating, with around 15 percent of practices having veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses self-isolating/or with COVID-19, compared with 30 percent in the first survey and 20 percent in the second survey.
  • As expected with the improvement in practice turnover and workload, fewer practices have staff on furlough. The modal (most frequent) response for the percentage of staff furloughed was 11-25 percent for both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in this survey. This is in contrast to the previous two surveys where the modal response was 26-50 percent for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.

Lizzie Lockett, RCVS CEO, commented: “This latest survey has demonstrated a continuation of the previous survey’s positive trends including an increase in practice turnover with more practices approaching a ‘near normal caseload’ and with a reduction in the number of practices impacted by staff self-isolating or with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“In this survey we also asked about what difficulties practices may be experiencing with EMS placements for vet students and VN training placements as a result of COVID-19, and this will help us to understand how we can better support students and practices in these areas.

“We will continue to monitor the situation via these regular surveys, with the next one planned for later this summer. 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 and how they are recovering. 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 online.