Veterinary practices across the country will struggle to retain staff unless they are willing to embrace a part-time working culture.

Equine vet Anna Hammond warned delegates at BEVA Congress during a series of talks focused on careers, career breaks and life beyond practice.

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Veterinary practices must embrace a part-time working culture, claims equine vet Anna Hammond. Image: fotomek / Fotolia.

Mrs Hammond, who works at Langford Veterinary Services, University of Bristol, added unless working cultures changed, an increasing number of vets would begin to leave the profession.

Open minds

She said: “Employers need to open their minds to the concept part-time workers can job share – that it is a good thing and clients will accept it.

“My generation used to work ridiculous amounts of days and nights, and clients were able to get hold of us all the time, but the new generation of vets will not work that way – they just won’t. It is a different demographic; a different mindset.”

Attitude

Mrs Hammond continued: “The biggest con – and here is the problem I have – is the attitude of [some] employers to part-time workers. They are all going to have to change their attitudes because a large amount of new graduates coming through now are female and most will want children, and to work part time, so [employers] are going to have to change.

“I sent my CV to a large equine hospital in 2005 and was told, in writing, ‘we currently employ one female vet part time; we won’t be making that mistake again’. This is the kind of attitude that needs to change.”

Mrs Hammond’s speech at BEVA Congress was tied in with the launch of the MumsVet support group, which aims to provide help and advice to parents wanting to work part time.

  • Read more about the initiative in the 26 September issue of Veterinary Times.
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