94% of the public trust vets either “generally” or “completely”, putting them ahead of GPs, dentists and head teachers in a list of Britain’s most trusted professionals.

This figure is taken from a national ICM survey of more than 2,000 people, commissioned as part of the Vet Futures project – an initiative jointly powered by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to help the veterinary profession prepare for, and shape, its own future.

In a list of key professions the veterinary profession came third in terms of overall trust. Vets are behind opticians, who attracted a 95% trust rating, and pharmacists, who took the top position with 97%.

Findings also revealed 78% of people using veterinary services are satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service they receive.

This puts veterinary surgeons in the middle of the field ranging from 87% of people satisfied with the service they receive from pharmacists to 55% satisfied with the service from accountants.

Finally, the survey found 70% of those who use veterinary services rate the value for money offered by their veterinary practice as fair, good or excellent. Commenting on the findings, Stuart Reid, president of the RCVS, said: “Throughout the Vet Futures project we have been listening closely to the hopes and fears of the veterinary profession and heard a lot about how veterinary surgeons and nurses perceive themselves.

“To complete the picture, RCVS and BVA felt it was essential we also gain a deeper understanding of how the public perceives the veterinary profession. The results are extremely encouraging – particularly in relation to how well the public trusts members of the profession, including both animal owners and non-animal owners. But it is also clear there is more to be done in relation to public perceptions of value for money.

“We will explore these issues further as the Vet Futures project progresses and we are keen to hear ideas from all members of the veterinary team.”

BVA president John Blackwell added: “The veterinary profession sets itself very high standards and we know from our own member research vets are particularly concerned, and sometimes worried, about how their clients – and wider society – perceive them.

“So it is particularly heartening to learn the public holds the profession in such high regard in relation to trust. “Vets also score well in relation to the levels of satisfaction experienced by clients, and practices constantly strive to improve the service they deliver to their patients and animal owners.

“Through the Vet Futures project we hope to raise awareness of the very wide range of essential roles carried out by veterinary surgeons from clinical practice with livestock and pets to groundbreaking research, and from safeguarding the food we eat to upholding and promoting the very best animal welfare standards. Vets should be proud to be part of one of the most trusted professions in Britain.”

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