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Veterinary Services: Recruitment

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL9301, tabled on 19 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the UK is facing a critical shortage of veterinarians; and what steps they are taking to increase veterinary capacity.

Answered on

2 November 2020

The Department is aware of staff shortages within the veterinary profession which has an existing job vacancy rate of around 10%. Defra is working with the UK veterinary profession to address the UK’s veterinary resourcing needs and to ensure capacity in both the short and long term.

With support from stakeholders, the Department was successful in ensuring that veterinarians were added to the UK Shortage Occupation List in September 2019. This will make it easier for UK employers to recruit vets from overseas. Additionally, two new veterinary schools have been opened to expand the number of UK veterinary graduates in the future.

To support official veterinarians further, Defra created a Certification Support Officer (CSO) role to help work on export certification. Additionally, to ease the burden of statutory TB skin testing of cattle, from 2 November 2020, Approved Tuberculin Testers (ATTs) can be employed and trained by private veterinary businesses in England.