Simplyhealth Professionals survey shows work life balance, animal owner expectations and remuneration are sources of concern for vets

A recent survey* of predominantly small animal vets, carried out on behalf of Simplyhealth Professionals, has found that while 71 per cent of assistants feel that their career has largely met their expectations, work life balance, animal owner expectations and remuneration are all areas of concern.

When those who felt their career had not met their expectations were asked to explain why, 25% cited work life balance as being an issue. Another 21% felt that dealing with animal owners’ expectations was problematic: this included willingness to comply, willingness to pay and how owners interact with the practice.

Mental health has rightly received a lot of attention in the profession and the survey found that 18%, rated mental wear and tear as a reason for their career failing to meet expectations. An equal number said remuneration was their biggest issue.
Another 7% felt that lack of a career path or ability to progress was the main reason that veterinary medicine had not met their expectations.

When all respondents (assistants and owners) were asked to choose one area of work they would like to change, remuneration was the most popular response and this was especially marked for vets who had been in practice for longer (16 to 20 years). Every day mental health issues (stress, anxiety and depression) were the next most crucial area that vets would choose to change.

Gudrun Ravetz, Head Veterinary Officer at Simplyhealth Professionals says the company has been looking carefully at how it can best support veterinary professionals and practices deal with these difficult issues. She said, “As a profession it is vital that we all work together to find sustainable solutions to our current workforce challenges. We need to be innovative and responsive in the way we support people and practices.”

She continued, “At Simplyhealth Professionals we’ve been developing our training programmes to help teams grow and work better together, as well as training aimed at improving client engagement and enhancing communication techniques. We also provide training on performance appraisal to help managers provide constructive feedback and encourage personal and career development. Those sessions are all included as part of a Simplyhealth Professionals membership. Another key initiative is our new Optimise plan which provides support for employee mental and physical health with a round the clock care line to ensure that people can have support when they need it.”

Head of Sales at Simplyhealth Professionals, John McAviney, commented that a profitable practice is more likely to have the resources available to provide the support employees want and need, “Remuneration is clearly a considerable area of concern when it comes to career satisfaction. Having a predictable and increased revenue stream allows practices to feel more confident about rewarding its employees financially, in line with their skills and experience. It means that pay increases no longer become a risky decision for a practice principal to make. A health plan also encourages clients to budget for their pet’s care and to utilise a wider array of services, so there should be fewer opportunities for disputes to arise and more for building relationships and loyalty.”

Practice owners and managers can find out more about health plans, training and support that is available by talking to their Simplyhealth Professionals Business Development Consultant, visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk/professionals/vets or call 0800 587 2581.

*The survey took place in February 2019 and 206 veterinary surgeons (assistants), qualified for more than one year and whose workload comprised 75% small animal were questioned.

About Simplyhealth Professionals:
Simplyhealth Professionals is the UK’s leading provider of preventive healthcare plans for cats, dogs, horses and rabbits and has been providing pet health plans for 10 years.
Simplyhealth Professionals also provides a wide range of professional services for its member veterinary practices and their teams. Plus regulatory advice, business and marketing consultancy services and networking opportunities.
Veterinary enquiries telephone: 0800 587 2581.
For details of all of our products, visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk/professionals/vets

About Simplyhealth:
Since 1872 we’ve been helping people get healthcare through our health plans, charity partnerships and by being a voice in healthcare.

Today we’re delighted to be the UK’s leading provider of health plans, dental plans and pet health plans, which help individuals, families, employees and pets to get support with their health when they need it.

We don’t have shareholders which means we are totally focused on making sure no one goes without the healthcare support they need, and why we are passionate about being a voice in healthcare and partnering with charities to reduce health inequality.

Last year we donated £1.13 million to our charity partners which equates to over 10% of our pre-tax profits. Additionally, our partnership with the Simplyhealth Great Run Series raised over £40 million for charitable causes.

To find out more visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk