Covid to ‘accelerate’ consolidation of vet sector, says VetPartners

VetPartners CEO Jo Malone has said that the veterinary industry will emerge “stronger than ever” after showing “adaptability and resilience” amid the pandemic.

It comes as Covid had a “drastic” economic impact on veterinary practices, with a recent survey by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) revealing a reduction in turnover of between 51% and 75% at the height of the crisis.

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While most practices saw a reduced caseload, including routine appointments such as vaccinations, Malone said that the profession “demonstrated great resourcefulness” to continue providing emergency and veterinary care.

She also believes the pandemic could bring further changes to the industry across  the UK and in Europe, following an increased demand to be part of larger groups, such as VetPartners, who in turn is backed by international investment company BC Partners.

VetPartners, for example, expanded into Italy in 2019, and expects further growth in both France and the UK in coming months.

According to the group, the after-effects of the pandemic are expected to further accelerate the consolidation of the sector overall.

Malone said: “As a profession, we have learned how to be adaptable and how to handle a crisis during unprecedented times for everyone. As we have never experienced anything like this before, we had to find ways to continue working while keeping team members safe. 

“I am so proud of our profession, which has come through a challenging time after being thrown into something we have never experienced. There was a huge responsibility ensuring employees were safe, creating new policy documents when government guidance changed so many times, and issuing guidance to practices from our governing body.”

She added: “We have proved that using other means of communicating with clients, including video and telephone consults, can be effective, while it has been so important to work as part of a team.

“The majority of practices saw their revenue half during the crisis and we can not underestimate how worrying that was, but we know the volume of work is there. Clients are keen to come back to practices, and, while progress was slow initially, we are seeing revenue increasing as routine work increases.”

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