Weekly Veterinary News Roundup: UK Charities Call On The Government To Help ‘Terrified’ Afghan Vets

UK Charities Call On The Government To Help ‘Terrified’ Afghan Vets

Veterinary charities have called on the UK government to help Afghan-based veterinary workers after the Taliban seized control of the country. 

The veterinary charities Mayhew and Nowzad are now asking the government to add veterinary workers in Afghanistan to the emergency evacuation list. 

Pat Murchison, grant manager for Nowzad, stated that:

‘We have vets, vet nurses and clinical staff who have worked with us for several years, and they are in great danger because of their association with a British charity and because Pen Farthing [chief executive of Nowzad] is a former Royal Marine’.

‘It’s just appalling, and we have got lady vets who are just in dire need and terrified of what will happen to them. They’ve had the chance to have a really good education, and now they’re just being abandoned by the west.’

‘At the moment we have had no contact from anyone at the Foreign Office to help us get them out. We also have lots of animals that we are trying to get a cargo plane for.’

Although the government is currently carrying out evacuations for British and Afghan nationals, only time will tell how successful these operations will be.

For more on this story, click here.

Pre-Registration Launched For Mind Matters New Wellbeing App

Professionals are being asked to pre-register for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) wellbeing app. 

The app, part of the organization’s Mind Matters Initiative (MMI), has been created in collaboration with The Kite Program. The app includes ‘bespoke microlearning modules’ that aim to give professionals the skills they need to thrive in practice. 

Angharad Belcher, RCVS Director for Advancement of the Professions, said that the organization:

‘Recognized how hard it can be for veterinary professionals to fit wellbeing activities into their busy workdays and understand that everyone’s mental health needs are different. By collaborating with The Kite Program, we wanted to create a wellbeing platform that was accessible, flexible- and had a range of activities to meet a variety of mental health and wellbeing needs. This app will be another useful tool for the professions, and we are pleased to be able to offer it free of charge.’

For more on this story, click here.

AVMA Works Towards Making The Veterinary Profession Psychologically Safe

With mental health remaining a poignant problem within the veterinary community, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has been striving towards improving this. 

During the AVMA’s House of Delegates regular annual session, Jen Brandt, the AVMA director of the member wellbeing and diversity initiative, highlighted some of the organization’s work. 

Some of the initiatives outlined include:

-The Mind Matters International Roundtable, which examines the impact of COVID-19 on professionals’ mental health. 

-The AVMA Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program, which consists of: ‘Creating a Culture of Wellbeing’, ‘How to Request, Receive, and Give Feedback Effectively’, ‘Transforming Conflict’, ‘QPR Assessment’ and ‘Diversity and Inclusion.’ 

-The AVMA Brave Space Certificate Program.

-The ‘My Veterinary Life’ website, which provides resources for veterinary students and young professionals. 

To learn more about these resources, click here.

BVA Welcomes Government Measures To Improve Animal Welfare 

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the UK government’s commitment to improving conditions for animals in transit while cautioning that DEFRA should continue to engage with veterinarians. 

As part of the Animal Welfare Action Plan, government officials have pledged to introduce measures to make animal transit more ethical. These proposals include a shorter maximum journey time for live animals, a requirement for animals to have sufficient headroom during transit, and stricter rules on animals traveling in harsh temperatures.

James Russell, the BVA President said: 

‘We’re pleased to see the Government standing by its pledge to improve conditions during transport for farm animals, as well as a commitment to work with industry to develop proposals further.’

‘It’s vital that the Government engages meaningfully with the veterinary profession and industry colleagues as they develop these proposals, to ensure that measures are evidence-based and workable and deliver genuine and decisive welfare benefits for millions of farm animals. We look forward to working closely with our species divisions and Defra as the specifics take shape.’

For more on this story, click here. 

Data Shows Reality Behind ‘Pandemic Pet Boom’

The American Veterinary Medical Associations’ (AVMA) chief economist has said that the veterinary workforce crisis is far more complicated than initially perceived. 

In an article, the economist Matthew Salois, Ph.D., broke down how many pet adoptions there had actually been in the US, how veterinary demand changed over lockdown, and what had altered regarding staff productivity and attrition. 

Highlights of the article included:

-Evidence showing that there was not- in fact- a significant influx in pet adoption across the US. According to Mr. Salois, only 2.3 million pets were adopted from shelters in 2020- the lowest in five years. 

-Evidence illustrating an increase in veterinary demand by about 4.5, which did not account for current workload issues.

-Data demonstrating a 25% decline in practice productivity, due to client backlogs, Covid-19, and more. 

To check out the data, click here.

SuperFriend And AVA Join To Tackle Veterinary Mental Health Crisis 

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and SuperFriend (the national workplace mental health organization) have partnered to develop a veterinary mental health strategy.

According to research, around 37% of veterinarians have considered leaving practice due to stress, anxiety, or poor working conditions. In response to these revelations, the two organizations have collaborated to create a ‘holistic strategy’ to overcome these challenges. 

‘An industry-wide approach is crucial to building a strategy that has positive outcomes for all vets,’ said SuperFriend CEO Margo Lydon.

‘This includes investing in further research and creating strong links with state health and safety regulators.’

To read more about this story, click here.

How Practices Can Prioritise Work And Wellbeing 

Oftentimes, success seems to come at the cost of mental wellbeing. This, however, should not be the case. 

With 1 in 6 workers experiencing mental health problems during their lifetime, this is a significant problem for employees and employers alike. Mental health problems cost UK employers around £33 billion- £42 billion annually, illustrating the severity of the matter.

So how can leaders get on top of this problem?

First, employers should be proactive- not reactive. If employers find themselves having to intervene after their team has already burned out something has gone wrong strategically. Putting in safeguarding measures to PREVENT this from happening puts business owners ahead of the bell curve and at the forefront of the problem. 

Wellbeing coaching, leadership skills training, and other organizational and individual interventions can help. For advice on how to reduce burnout in practice, click here.

For more on this article, click here.

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