Letter to the Editor: Increasing graduate production in the UK (AND Australia)

The topic of veterinary numbers has created much discussion recently in Australia along with the United Kingdom and United States. The standard gauge of supply and demand is price or wages. Increasing numbers of veterinarians also lead to increasing numbers of veterinary clinics and house call businesses which causes declines in business incomes. Other professions such . . . → Read More: Letter to the Editor: Increasing graduate production in the UK (AND Australia)

Pigeon Post: Ian Neville writes from the UK

The trend toward corporate veterinary practice ownership has been accelerating noticeably in recent years. Ten years ago it was estimated that around only 3 per cent of UK practices were owned by corporate companies, by last year that had risen to 10 per cent. In April this year a takeover merged two of the largest veterinary joint venture partnership (JVP) groups under a single management team.

Pets At Home is a nationwide retail chain of 345 stores selling pet foods and products, accessories, insurance and small pets employing 6,250 staff. Eighty six of the stores have grooming parlours and 116 house branches of Companion Care veterinary surgeries employing a further 1,200 people. The subject of the takeover, Vets 4 Pets, is another substantial JVP company with 93 practices spread across the UK. Both groups were formed in 2001, but their merger creates a single and formidable buying, discounting, advertising, training and management capability that independent, established practitioners and new start-up hopefuls will probably find very difficult to compete with. It also significantly reduces competition between veterinary JVP groups, with possible adverse impacts on job opportunities and conditions. Combined sales for both groups in the year to March 2013 amounted to £100 million (A$ 158 million). Pets At Home plan to retain both veterinary group ‘brand’ identities but continue to expand their operations and open more new franchised clinics.  Continue reading Pigeon Post: Ian Neville writes from the UK

Large animal experience a boon to students

Branding at Berrigurra

Branding on-sit at AACC property Berrigurra gave The University of Queensland students the opportunity to get hands-on with large animals as part of their training to become vets.

The national rural veterinary crisis is being actively addressed by Australian Agricultural College Corporation with hands-on training for students at its Berrigurra property.

In a partnership with Queensland University, 22 Bachelor of Veterinary Science students in second and third year have spent two weeks getting hands-on with large animals.

In an industry where 90 per cent of graduates are female and the average age of a rural vet is 50, there is a serious need for young blood, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation Primary Industry Beef Extension Officer, John Bertram said.
“This program gets students who have a career vision of working in a small animal clinic with cats and dogs, out to the bush working on a large beef cattle property, doing things like preg testing, branding and working with horses,” he said. Continue reading Large animal experience a boon to students

Pigeon Post: August 2011

What passes for summer on the Damp Isles is running its usual course: cool, cloudy days, unseasonable flu outbreaks and vague memories of a warm, dry spring fading into folklore. As usual we’re dreaming into autumn … part of the reverie is that as I write India are struggling to save the First Test at Lord’s! It’s the final day of the 2,000th test match in cricket history. The four match series has been billed as the decider for the ICC Test Ranking crown. Before the series began India topped the rankings with 125 points, followed by South Africa on 118 then England on 117. (Australia were fifth on 100 points). If England can get two clear wins over India this summer they will be propelled into the world no. 1 spot … and for a change some of us believe they might just be good enough to do it! It makes a refreshing change for England cricket fans wearied by match fixing allegations and Murdoch media monopolisation.
Continue reading Pigeon Post: August 2011

First vets to graduate from JCU

North Queensland’s depleted veterinary profession is about to receive an injection of new blood, when the first cohort of Veterinary Science students graduate from James Cook University.
Five years’ hard work from both staff and students will pay off this month when the first batch of JCU animal doctors enter the veterinary industry.
And the word from the profession indicates that practitioners are poised and ready to snap up this next generation of vets, with many students already securing jobs in country practices in Queensland and elsewhere.

“Before taking on the massive responsibility of training the region’s future vets, we made sure we asked people on the front line what they wanted from our graduates,” Veterinary Science Dean Lee Fitzpatrick said.

“Their responses formed the basis of our integrated curriculum, which has grown to become quite the innovation.

“We have received favourable feedback from vets across the profession and that’s reflected by the jobs being offered to our graduates.

“The end product will speak for itself. It will be an honour to call them colleagues.”

Joshua Berryman is one of more than 40 students anticipating the day he can finally call himself a vet. Continue reading First vets to graduate from JCU