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Veterinary careers
The value of good first-opinion practice
  1. Vicky Payne
  1. Lynwoood Cottage, Manchester Road, Ninfield, East Sussex TN33 9JX
  1. e-mail: health{at}

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I was feeling quite upbeat after reading an article online about how important Nottingham’s vet school felt general practice was, then I read Simon Wolfensohn’s letter (VR, 9 December 2017, vol 181, p 629).

He is right that we have a severe recruitment and retention problem in first-opinion veterinary practice in the UK. His suggested solution made me sad, angry and very concerned for the future. Mr Wolfensohn writes that, ‘An evening surgery full of vaccination appointments and anal glands is not what these young people had in mind when they embarked on their degree courses!’ That is what the majority of veterinary practice is, so what were they expecting their first jobs to be? Who is to blame if they are entering vet school imagining they’ll be aping the ‘Supervet’ after a year or so and leave vet school imagining the same?

First-opinion practice is where most jobs for vets are. Vet schools should be discussing this as the career option most graduates will take. Instead, recently a second-year vet student on EMS told me that college tutors talk about first-opinion practice as, ‘a stepping stone …

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