Pretty big question this.
The business of vet practice is changing. It has already. And it continues to morph into something new every week. Over 40% of practices are now in corporate ownership. And counting.
This is fine in itself, but as we all know, when the owners of a business no longer work in them, their relationship with their employees changes drastically.
Businesses will always be focused on profit. they always have been: They can choose to use cheaper catheters and save 70p a time. Or maybe obtain a bulk discount on 150 bottles of Pseudocam. Which is worth more than £220 increased profit over a month.
Or perhaps they choose to pay their vets less. And expect them to work another hour or two per day – for the same pay including weekends. This approach is worth £thousands per month to the business.
So it’s little wonder that business owners aim their cuts at the soft-targets – their employees who’s main focus is on the care of animals – over and above their own needs.
It’s not just the small businesses that are being sold into corporate ownership. Small groups of practices are being gobbled up by larger ones. Even the privately owned VetsNow (the national emergency Out Of Hours care-provider) have been bought-out in the last few weeks.
Private practice owners see all this cash sloshing around, and most realise it’s the ‘top of the market’. They’ll never get as much money for their businesses as they will today. They owe it to their families (and to their retirement) to sell.
Then big business comes in, and replaces the original boss’ antiquated management methods with somthing a little bit more rigorous.
The lives of the employees change…
When the investment money flooding in from the USA (and UK venture capital) stops – as it will – there will be less money to pay the vets’ salaries. Even less flexibility in work-rotas. Even less chance of getting 2 weeks holiday in one lump. Even less chance of getting an hour off work to pick up the kids from nursery. Less chance of determining your own work conditions.
All sounds a bit grim and dystopian doesn’t it?
But maybe you have a responsibility to yourself, your daughter, your colleagues, and your family – to think about these changes that are transforming what it’s like ‘to be a vet’.
To see the future, it’s best to have your eyes open…
Being a Vet in the 21st Century – Due to publish January 30th, 2019