The boss of the UK’s largest provider of out-of-hours veterinary care has described Brexit as a disaster.

Vets Now founder Richard Dixon made his comments at SPVS/VPMA Congress during a question and answer session with the RVC’s Martin Whiting.

Richard Dixon
“Brexit? I think it is a disaster,” says Vets Now founder Richard Dixon.

Dr Dixon was responding to a question from the audience about how he felt the UK’s decision to leave the EU may impact the veterinary profession.

Anything can happen

He replied: “Brexit? I think it is a disaster. We have got a significant minority of our workforce from mainland Europe and it feels impossible to envisage a scenario whereby all those people will be told ‘sorry, you are not welcome anymore’.

“It just feels like that could never happen, but there are quite a few things that felt like they could never happen, and they happened. I don’t think those people will have to leave, but there are many industries – not just ours, the medical profession, broadly, and the veterinary profession, broadly – that will just stop functioning if we cut off the supply of European recruits.”

Vet supply impact

Speaking at a Brexit-focused session the following day, Spanish vet Luis Sainz-Pardo presented data that appeared to confirm the supply of EU vets may already have been impacted by Brexit.

Figures show since last June there has been a significant fall in the number of applications to join the RCVS register from vets trained in the EU.

He said: “We only have a few months to go on, but there has already been a drop off of applications to British universities of 7% and I think there has been a drop off of around 200 in registrations to the college from vets from the EU in the past five or six months. People will not come where they are not welcome.”

  • Read the full story in the 13 February issue of Veterinary Times.
View your activity >

related content

The RCVS disciplinary committee has ended an inquiry against a Hampshire-based vet after it found no case of “serious” professional misconduct against him – despite finding the majority of charges against him proved.

8 mins

BEVA has defended the work equine vets do to safeguard horse welfare, stating “profit must not be confused with a lack of passion”.

5 mins

The difficulties faced by practices trying to recruit experienced vets has led an increasing number to turn to new graduates. Taking on inexperienced vets can be a challenge, but when it works, the rewards to both employer and employee are substantial, says Jenny Stuart.

10 mins

Calls to introduce screening of potential vet students to improve well-being in the profession have been debunked by mental health campaigners and veterinary associations.

5 mins

Scottish CPD charity Vet Trust marked its 25th anniversary with lectures and special guests at its 2017 conference in Stirling.

4 mins

The RVC has received a gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest rating a university can receive.

5 mins