Last weekend (Sunday 31st March) AREC hosted alongside 7 of our local clinics a ‘Hunter Vet Recruitment Day’. Several media outlets heard of what we are doing and were very interested in the “why”. Read the below article from Newcastle Herald, published 23rd March 2019.
RICHARD Snedden knows all too well the importance of receiving timely care for a sick family member.
David Tabrett said he was hardly alone in the search for new vets.
“I’ve spoken to two vets in the past two weeks, in general practice, who have been considering shutting their doors. One has been advertising for two years and had no applicants in that time,” he said.
The Kookaburra Veterinary Employment website this week had 19 posts advertising permanent jobs in the Hunter region.
One ad was for a full-time veterinarian at Greencross Vets’ Rutherford clinic. That facility is presently closed due to the vet shortage, according to Glenn Nettlefold, the organisation’s Area Manager NSW North.
In a statement to the Herald, Mr Nettlefold wrote, “Greencross Vets will continue to work on recruiting a vet for our Rutherford clinic but at this point will continue to refer clients into our Maitland clinic.”
The shortage besetting the Hunter is part of a wider issue for the industry. The Federal Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business website carried a report in 2018 saying demand for vets had increased strongly while the growth in “new supply” had slowed. It quoted a survey indicating only 28 per cent of vacancies had been filled.
When Dr Gail Melluish wanted to employ a veterinarian for a clinic due to open at Cameron Park in August, she placed advertisements online, expecting to quickly find someone.
“We didn’t really get any response,” Dr Melluish, owner of the Cardiff Veterinary Hospital, said.
After advertising for about three months, Dr Melluish relied on word-of-mouth to find a veterinarian for the new practice.
“It’s certainly a buyer’s market at the moment; the vets out there have a multitude of jobs to pick from,” she said.
The shortage of vets can mean more stress for existing practices, and for pet owners.
David Tabrett explained that when the East Maitland clinic was running its after-hours service, vets in areas such as Cessnock and Singleton could refer patients there. But not at the moment: “That puts pressure back on those GP vets … to be on call every night.”
Doctor Tabrett said he had received inquiries from mostly Sydney, but also from as far away as Queensland. The local vets held a similar event last year. Twelve attended; two moved to the Hunter. This year, he is hoping for more than 20 to come to the recruitment day, and for up to six to sign on.