Vet care: ‘Austerity will make the job harder’
The number of vets has plunged by around 15 per cent since 2010, as a sharp rise in prescription drug costs has pushed up demand for care.
And it’s not just vets who are feeling the squeeze: the NHS has been hit by a spiralling deficit of more than £400m.
With more than 5,000 more staff expected to be needed, hospitals are struggling to cope.
In April, the government promised to cut the annual increase in the NHS’s operating budget by 2.5 per cent, but it has yet to do so.
This year the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced an additional £1bn for NHS hospitals, but the figure is expected to fall even further, with a cut of around 2 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health says it will reduce the number of people it employs by 15,000 by 2020, from a current peak of around 20,000.
The cuts mean that hospitals will have to turn to people with limited experience of healthcare to take over the roles of vets.
What is a vet?
A vet is someone who has completed a veterinary course.
They typically have experience of caring for animals, or in the case of veterinary medicine, people with special needs.
The job requires them to be trained to work in a vet hospital, which usually means working for up to 24 hours a day and spending an average of eight hours a week in a care environment.
The person may also be employed as a vet nurse, but they are not paid.
How do you become a vet If you have never worked as a veterinary technician before, you need to apply to the Veterinary Technician Certificate (VTC) course, which is held at a vet college.
You will need to take three core exams to pass.
You need to pass the final exams and pass the first exam in the course.
After passing the first two exams, you will need the final two exams to get a licence.
Once you pass both of these, you can then apply for a licence to work as a full-time veterinary technician.
However, this is not a guarantee, as there are still rules about where you can work and what you can and can’t do.
You may not be allowed to work at a veterinary college if you have been convicted of a criminal offence, or if you are on bail for breaching bail conditions.
You can also be disqualified if you fail to show up to a training session, but this is more rare.
The first four years of the course are spent learning how to work the dogs and cats, and you will learn to handle and treat animals.
During the course, you may also spend some time working in a veterinary hospital, if the hospital is accredited by the Veterinary Institute of Scotland (VISA).
You may also undertake a course at a training academy to get experience in the training of veterinary technicians.
A VTC course lasts around 12 months, and is paid for by the government.
What you need for a VTC A VTX will give you the skills you need in caring for a dog or cat, and to handle a large number of animals.
You also need to get your license and pass a number of tests.
You must be able to meet the qualifications of the veterinary college you wish to apply for.
You cannot work at the veterinary hospital if you were convicted of an offence or if on bail.
You are not allowed to practice as a veterinarian, unless you have completed at least four years in the profession.
You have to pass a medical examination to get an VTX.
You should also complete a training course to get more experience in handling animals.
There are also rules about how you can be employed at a VTX, as well as how long you can stay at a hospital and how much you can earn.
The vet course lasts four years and can be taken at any time, but you cannot go to the training academy or attend a veterinary school.
There is no guarantee you will be allowed into the hospital if the VTX course is cancelled.
How long does a VTA training course last?
A VTA is one of the most complex veterinary training courses in the world.
You spend six months working with animals in a confined space, in a very small, enclosed space.
You do this by working with different breeds of animals, working with them in a variety of ways, and by watching their behaviour, from the time they come into the room until the time you leave it.
You learn how to use tools, how to recognise the signs of illness and the most common veterinary illnesses, and how to handle dangerous animals and diseases.
You work with animals that are either fully vaccinated, or are treated for diseases that are still infectious.
You’ll also learn how you treat patients who are ill, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and infections.
What to expect in the VTA course There are different levels of training at a VetTA course.
Some courses can be completed by just a small group of vets