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.
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