VetPartners’ expansion across Europe is set to continue with the group preparing to welcome its first French practices.
The UK-based veterinary group expanded into Italy in 2019, with the acquisition of five practices, and expects further growth in France in coming months.
Vincent Parez, managing director of VetPartners France, said the effects of the global health crisis will “herald further transformation” of the veterinary profession, with “increased demand to join larger groups like VetPartners”.
Parez said: “I think one of the consequences of the pandemic will be an acceleration in the number of practices seeking to be part of larger veterinary groups.
“What this health crisis has done is highlight that being part of a network of practices is better than working alone. When you are part of a family of practices sharing the same objectives and values, you don’t feel alone and you have support to find the solutions.”
He added: “The pandemic will have a profound effect on the profession and lead to more consolidation in the veterinary industry because vets need more support. We have already received a lot of interest from practice owners and, now we are returning to normal life, the first French practices will be joining VetPartners.”
“I think vets over the age of 40 are already looking for a more secure future and dealing with the effects of a pandemic will have an impact on their mindset. Vets want the best care for owners and their pets, but managing HR, admin and other issues they face will leave them looking for solutions and support.
He concluded: “Vets in France were not equipped for all the problems that came with the pandemic and many don’t have the resources or the cash flow when faced with this kind of experience so this is the sort of help they will receive if they join a larger veterinary group.”
The news comes as 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-19 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.
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.