Two thirds (66%) of veterinary practices have reported that their weekly turnover has been reduced by more than half, according to the RCVS pandemic survey.
More than 500 veterinary practices responded to the survey conducted by the RCVS, which had the aim of gauging the impact of the coronavirus.
Around 30% of practices reported being impacted by veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses that were ill or self-isolating, whilst almost 35% have other support staff self-isolating at this time.
The survey found that 71% of premises remained open, but 5% of respondents had closed their main premises and 24% had closed branch premises. A further 97% of practices reported limiting the service they provide to emergencies or emergencies and urgent cases
Meanwhile, 62% of respondents had furloughed or intended to furlough veterinary surgeons, compared to 64% for veterinary nurses and 78% for other support staff.
Only 6% of respondents had made, or had immediate plans to make staff redundant, however.
The survey also found that 14% of respondents had donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the NHS, or for use by those tackling the pandemic on the frontline.
RCVS CEO, Lizzie Lockett, said: “To those on the ground it won’t come as too much of a surprise that the impact of the coronavirus has been profound in areas such as practice turnover and staffing, with many vets, veterinary nurses and other support staff being furloughed with the aim of signing them up to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“There are some bright spots in the data we’ve gathered – very few practices reported that they had made or were planning to make staff redundant, and many practices reported mitigating the challenge of social distancing by carrying out consultations with new and existing clients remotely.”
She added: “Since the survey took place we have also taken steps to meet some of the requests for greater clarity and guidance from the RCVS with the publication of our flowchart helping practices to decide what treatments it is appropriate to carry out safely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”