A new study of veterinary professionals shows that while a large majority (84%) believe that veterinary wellness is ‘very important’ to the success of their practice, more than three quarters of practices (75%) have no plans to introduce a wellness programme and only 30% have a wellness programme in place or a wellness champion. More worryingly, 50% of practices don’t even recognise veterinary wellness as an issue.
The research, carried out on behalf of the organisers of VET Festival 2019, explored the views of 524 veterinary professionals on veterinary wellness and actions taken by their practice to promote it.
“Half of UK Veterinary Practices Don’t Recognise Veterinary Wellness as an Issue says New Survey“
Perhaps in response to a perceived lack of action at their practice, the survey showed that many respondents are now focusing on ‘self-care’ with 57% saying they have started an exercise regime, 54% saying they have taken up other hobbies outside work and 44% saying they are talking more openly to colleagues to share problems and offer support.
When questioned as to the obstacles to improving wellness in their practice, ‘staff not having the time to focus on it’ was cited by 76% as the key barrier. 52% claimed that it was not recognised as an issue at their practice while a further 49% said that the lack of trained personnel to champion wellness was the biggest problem.
Encouragingly, among the quarter of practices which had initiated a wellness programme, 83% said that it had made a positive difference. Wellness initiatives included the provision of a counselling service cited by 38% of respondents and of online resources cited by 32%. 30% said that their practice had appointed a wellness champion as part of their wellness programme.
When asked what ‘one thing’ their practice could do to enhance veterinary wellness, the two most popular suggestions were:
• Improved communication and support with more openness and empathy (suggested by 26%)
• Improved team working with more breaks and a quiet area for staff (suggested by 24%)
10% said that an acknowledgement that wellness was actually an issue would be a start.
Veterinary wellness is a focus for this year’s VET Festival, which takes place on 7-8 June at Loseley Park in Surrey. The event features an expanded Wellness Hub, including sessions run by the charity VetLife. Other activities include yoga and talks on meditation and reducing stress. The Wellness Hub is generously supported by MWI Animal Health.
Commenting, Nicole Cooper, Managing Director, Events Division, Fitz All Media said: “What we find startling about these results is that, despite a growing appreciation of the importance of veterinary wellness, almost half of the UK’s practices still don’t recognise it as an issue.”
She continued: “The good news from this survey is that many veterinary professionals are now starting to take responsibility for their own mental health, whether through taking up interests outside work or sharing problems and experiences more openly at work. We urge more practice leaders to step up and to prioritise enhancing the wellness and wellbeing of their dedicated teams.”
“The Wellness Hub at VET Festival is a fantastic way for delegates to learn practical techniques and approaches to help them manage their own wellness and to share with colleagues back in practice. In addition to the great CPD on offer at VET Festival, we hope they will all enjoy some time in the Wellness Hub that MWI Animal Health is proud to support,” said Alan White, Group Commercial Director at MWI Animal Health.
Tickets for VET Festival can be purchased here: https://www.vetfestival.co.uk/delegate-info/ticket-information
Veterinary companies retailing or promoting companion animal products, primary care veterinary practices or referral practices interested in exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities are asked to contact Kara Hiscox at KHiscox@fitzallmedia.comSee all the latest jobs in Animal Health