The veterinary sector has been under the pump long before the pandemic took hold but now the pressure is mounting. There are high levels of under-resourcing nationwide, with the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) estimating a deficit of around 123 veterinarians.
Although there are a number of actions being taken to alleviate some of the pressure the problem will be around for a while. So what can you do to help reduce the impacts being felt in your farming business?
Preventative health care is a good investment, it often leads to better productivity and easier management. But it also means the vet clinic can utilise their wider team as much of the preventative care can be performed by technicians. And using a proactive system, like WelFarm, allows your vet to cater the support your farm needs uniquely to you.
It’s also a great experience for both you and your vet team, to deal with healthy animals and keep them healthy rather than needing the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
But if you do need the ambulance, contact the vet clinic early, give them warning and allow them time to triage and prioritise accordingly.
Be organised for appointments and accept unexpected delays but also try not to create them yourself by adding extra things while they are on farm. Always ring in advance if you have more than you originally booked the visit for.
Supply chain disruptions are being felt everywhere and products you are familiar with may be harder to access. Trust your vet if they recommend a different product and be open to giving it a go, they will always strive to offer the best advice and solution possible.
Offering a cuppa at the shed can be a helpful gesture and if you can offer to help them clean their gear while they are finishing, sometimes it will make a big difference to their day.
They have a lot going on in their head and often the mental to do list can get hazy. Sometimes you may need to give them a gentle reminder of something they have forgotten but do appreciate how stretched their time can be.
And some clinics are trying to minimise the time they are spending on the phone but if you leave a message they will endeavor to get back to you as soon as they can.
The pinch is being felt everywhere but there are opportunities to help each other and try to prevent the bottleneck. The key is communication, ask your vet what you can do to help them help you and look after that relationship for better outcomes all round.