What will ‘Brexit’ mean for the veterinary profession?

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Sean Wensley

EU flag Since the results of the EU referendum were announced in the early hours of Friday I’m sure, like me, many of you have been thinking about what Brexit will mean in reality, including what it will mean for our profession.

BVA issued a statement on Friday briefly setting out some of the issues we will now have to consider in making sure that the veterinary voice is heard in the negotiations, and stating clearly that we retain an outward looking and inclusive perspective, including through our relationships with international partners.

But we also recognise that, for many of our members the results are likely to have a profound personal impact – particularly members who are non-British EU citizens or have family members who are, and members who work alongside colleagues from other European Member States. The uncertainty will be a source of significant concern and worry and I want to reassure members that seeking clarity on these matters is at the top of our priority list during the forthcoming discussions.

Ahead of the referendum we produced a BVA briefing document on a wide range of matters of interest to the veterinary profession (53 KB PDF), including workforce issues and freedom of movement, funding for surveillance, disease eradication and R&D, veterinary medicines, and legislation on animal health and welfare and public health. Although we expect there to be a degree of uncertainty on the detail for some time, all of these issues will form part of our discussions.

Vet Futures support for overseas graduated vets

As part of our demonstrated commitment to supporting overseas-graduated vets, I would like to mention the related activity that is being developed through the Vet Futures initiative, jointly powered by BVA and RCVS. The Vet Futures report includes, amongst its recommendations, to “develop support for overseas-graduated veterinary surgeons working in the UK” within its ambition on the health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals.

The Vet Futures Action Plan, which went to print today and will be launched at the Vet Futures summit on 4th July, contains a number of next steps to develop this specific support for overseas-graduated veterinary surgeons working in the UK.

Use the BVA community to keep us informed

We also want to hear directly from you if there are any specific issues that you would like us to raise with the RCVS, Defra and other bodies. Please join our discussion in the BVA community so that we can collate issues and questions to inform our thinking and conversations.

Access to Vetlife services

I would like to remind all members that for confidential support members of the profession can call the Vet Helpline on 0303 040 2551 where calls are answered 24-hours a day by trained volunteers who have experience of the profession. Alternatively, a confidential email service can be accessed through https://helpline.vetlife.org.uk.

Sean Wensley

Written by Sean Wensley

BVA President from September 2015 to September 2016

Sean is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education at PDSA, based in Northern Ireland. He is also an Honorary Lecturer in animal welfare at the University of Nottingham.