Vet care provider redundancies risks pet safety

IVC Evidensia laying off non-clinical staff ‘for greed’ will result in compromised animal care

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One of the UK’s largest veterinary care providers is risking pet safety with redundancies to non-clinical staff, Unite said on Friday (July 21).

IVC Evidensia, which runs over a thousand veterinary practices across the country, is refusing to disclose how many non-clinical staff, including veterinary care assistants and receptionists, it plans to fire. However, the number is understood to be in the hundreds.

IVC Evidensia reported an increase in UK revenues from £1.31 billion in 2020 to £2.84 billion in 2022. The redundancies are being made as part of a plan to attract further investment into IVC Evidensia.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “These redundancies have nothing to do with improving animal care and everything to do with increasing IVC’s already substantial bottom line at the expense of workers and the animals they care for.”

The company claims the jobs losses will correct the balance of ‘clinical and support staff, as part of our overall efficiency and effectiveness, to help us fulfil our purpose of healthy animals, happy owners’.

IVC are basing the current round of redundancies on a dangerous and outdated ratio of one vet to 1.2 support staff, according to the British Veterinary Union in Unite (BVU).

The BVU says that without the proper support staff assistance, UK pets will be at increased risk when they are unwell as workloads for remaining clinical staff will be unsustainable.

BVU chair Suzanna Hudson Cooke added, “The veterinary sector is already critically understaffed. Many vets and veterinary nurses are left with little choice but to work significant unpaid overtime every week, solely to provide the care their patients require.

“They rely on excellent support staff to undertake all those essential tasks needed to run a clinic, so that their time can be focused on providing clinical care.

“How can IVC expect a veterinary nurse to answer the phones and organise appointments while monitoring a general anaesthetic, taking a radiograph, or handling a distressed animal, with no increased risk to the animals?

The BVU is a national professional branch of Unite the union, supporting all workers in the veterinary sector.

By Ryan Fletcher