AVA to appear at public hearings for the inquiry into the veterinary workforce shortage in NSW

28 Aug 2023

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is pleased to be invited to participate in the public hearings for the inquiry into the veterinary workforce shortage in NSW, taking place today and tomorrow.

“We are optimistic that the outcomes of this inquiry will lead to actionable strategies in NSW that could also be applied in other jurisdictions and nationally,” President of the AVA’s NSW Division, Dr Zachary Lederhose said.

Dr Lederhose emphasises the significance of the inquiry to the veterinary profession.

“The AVA believes that every animal that interacts with humans in Australia deserves access to veterinary services. Currently, this aspiration is not being fully realised, resulting in compromised animal health, undermining biosecurity and risking human health,” he said.

The challenges in maintaining a sustainable veterinary workforce are diverse. Financial vulnerability, generational shifts, societal changes, and limited public sector funding are at the forefront. Added to this are the pressures of providing after-hours services, navigating a dated regulatory framework, and providing veterinary care in rural areas where services are scarce. Veterinarians are also performing a huge amount of public good such as caring for strays, injured wildlife, and animals in emergencies. Often, the cost of delivering these services cannot be recouped.

Dr Lederhose said the veterinary sector stands at a critical juncture.

 “The challenges faced by our veterinary profession may be multifaceted, but so are the solutions. With collective will, strategic thinking, and targeted interventions, we can pave the way for a future where both our animals and the veterinarians who care for them flourish.”

The AVA’s submission to the inquiry includes 16 recommendations. These range from immediate interventions to long-term strategic solutions that serve as a blueprint for change.

"Immediate interventions we are calling for include educational fee relief to encourage early career veterinarians to work in rural NSW, commitment to ongoing recognition and support of veterinarians to continue to build and maintain capacity for Emergency Animal Disease surveillance and response activities, funding to address the rising rates of verbal and physical assault of veterinary teams and to educate the community on the impact of their actions. Longer term strategic solutions include reimagining the after-hours model for veterinary care, reforming legislative frameworks, and providing a mechanism for the profession to be able to recoup the costs associated with providing care to strays, wildlife, displaced animals in disasters and to those animals owned by people experiencing vulnerability” Dr Lederhose explained.

The full AVA submission and detailed recommendations can be accessed on the AVA website here.

 

For interview requests, call 0439 628 898 or email media@ava.com.au.