The RCVS and British Veterinary Chronic Illness Support (BVCIS) are asking all vets and student vets to take part in a survey into disability and chronic illness within the veterinary sector.

The aim of the survey is to provide a better understanding of the views, experiences and challenges faced by disabled and chronically ill people within the veterinary profession and provide an insight into how the profession and educational institutions can be more inclusive.

You do not have to be disabled or chronically ill to complete the survey, which will take you around 20 minutes to complete. 

Claire Hodgson, director and co-founder of BVCIS, said: “Working in the veterinary professions with a chronic illness or disability can be hugely challenging, but there is currently a knowledge gap in terms of understanding exactly where the problems lie.

“A 2019 RCVS survey of the professions found that around 6.7% of vets and 7.4% of RVNs have a disability or medical condition that limits work that they can do, but the true figures are likely to be much higher.

"No reliable data for veterinary students currently exists.

“The purpose of this survey is to close that knowledge gap and help us understand how we can better support disabled and chronically ill people in the workplace and education to create a more inclusive working culture.\

“Those living with disability and chronic illness are often hugely resourceful and fantastic problem solvers because of the day-to-day challenges they have had to learn to overcome.

"They have a great deal to contribute to the sector, and it is important that they feel valued and respected and have access to the tools they need to thrive.

“Diversity makes the workforce stronger, so we are calling on as many different people as possible from across the veterinary community to complete our survey so that, together, we can help create a more inclusive workplace for all.”

The survey will be circulated by email to all RCVS registered veterinary surgeons in the near future. 

Details will be circulated to students via their educational institutions. 

The RCVS says all survey responses will be completely confidential, and results will only be analysed and reported at a level that does not allow identification of individuals in any way.

Completed surveys will not be seen by anyone at the RCVS or BVCIS – the IES will send through a report with key research findings to both the RCVS and BVCIS after the survey has closed.

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