How Kernow Vets Messaging can help your practice with recruitment and retention
A recent report by RCVS into the trends within the veterinary workforce highlighted the ongoing issue of staff shortages. Workforce shortages are not a new issue for the UK veterinary profession, but there have been increasing pressures caused by the combination of the Covid pandemic and Brexit. The number of EU vets working in the UK has decreased, while the increase in animal ownership following the pandemic has increased, compounding the problem.
The report highlighted that 80% of vets have seen an increase in workload, with 65% saying this has caused conflict between their work life and personal well-being. These stats not only highlight the issue of staff recruitment that the veterinary industry is facing but also show the impact of this on the stress level within the sector, leading to increased retention issues.
At Kernow Vets Messaging, we offer three services that can help vet practices to reduce the impact of some of these factors. In today’s blog, we are going to look at how we do that.
How does our out-of-hours service improve your staff recruitment and retention?
Our out-of-hours service means no more passing around the shared out-of-hours mobile. We can take and filter calls, so your vets only need to be disturbed for truly important out-of-hours calls. We can filter those annoying, unnecessary calls that often plague the emergency line. This gives your vets the chance to have better rest when on call and reduces the impact of out-of-hours calls on their work-life balance.
The benefit of using an outsourced emergency practice for your out-of-hours care is that you don’t have to provide veterinary staff to cover from your own practice. If you are a small practice, this is particularly useful as there may not be enough vets to cover out-of-hours care without overworking all the vets.
We collect all the relevant information and then contact the vet covering the night shift directly to discuss the information. This gives the vet a chance to wake up and prepare themselves before dealing with the emergency client. This improves customer service and reduces the stress placed on the vet.
Many practices are giving up their out-of-hours work, either to another practice or a dedicated emergency vet. Only 51% of vets now provide their own out-of-hours cover. But this can cause added stress for your customers as they would be dealing with an unfamiliar practice and may have to travel to a different location to take their pets into the vet. But when we provide OOH cover, we work as an extension of your vet practice, and the customer never needs to know we are not based at your location. This can reassure the customer and mean that your vet experiences a less stressed customer once they reach them. You can read more about how our out-of-hours service can help your practice here.
How does our lone-worker service improve your staff recruitment and retention?
Often vets work alone in challenging circumstances. This is particularly true of equine and farm vets, who attend animals in isolated locations at all hours of day and night. The RCVS report found that vets who had experienced concerns for their personal safety were over twice as likely to plan to leave a practice than those who hadn’t had concerns.
By ensuring that your practice has clear procedures to protect and support lone working vets, you can significantly improve your staff retention as vets feel safe working for the practice. Additionally, it can be seen as a recruiting benefit for those vets who have left another practice due to concerns over their safety.
Our lone-worker service helps ensure your vets are safe and means they can get help easily should the worst happen. We can offer both check-in services and routine calls, so that the lone working vet can confirm they are safe or, if this is not done, we can escalate the concern and get them help should they need it. For vets who are working in potentially hazardous situations, this can be a lifeline. Whether the hazard is dangerous road or weather conditions or concerns regarding the potential risk of working with large animals, we are here to help.
As the number of female vets increases, particularly in the equine and farm sectors, this is increasingly important as female vets may be more vulnerable when dealing with out-of-hours calls at night in isolated locations.
How does our overflow service improve your staff recruitment and retention?
If you run a small practice or one that doesn’t have a dedicated office team, you may find it is your vet staff who are having to answer customer calls. This can be a huge distraction while working with other clients, which not only adds stress to the vet but also reduces the level of service the customers receive. An overflow line allows us to ensure all your calls are answered promptly without taking your veterinary staff away from more critical tasks.
Workplace stress can also be caused by customers: when customers call the vets, they are often worried about their animal and as such can be irate and difficult to manage. This can add to the stresses of the vets and lead to an uncomfortable working environment. By providing a barrier between the vets and the customers, we calm the customer before passing them to a vet and/or give the vet some thinking time before they have to speak directly with the customer.
We can also provide a priority scale where we can feed back to the vets which enquires are more urgent, so they can tackle these first rather than reactively responding to enquires in the order they come in. This triaging approach makes it easier for vets to deal with busy, high-stress periods.
Get in touch with the team to learn more about our service.