The survey of 812 veterinary receptionists, which was carried out in the autumn, found that only 50% of veterinary receptionists are paid more than the UK minimum/National Living Wage.
33% said they worked longer than their contracted hours and 37% said they didn’t receive overtime pay.
As a result, 64% of those questioned felt they were not paid fairly for the responsibilities they carry, which include ensuring practice protocols, handling veterinary medicines, promoting ‘sales’ eg of healthcare plans and dealing with often challenging clients.
Discontent with salary levels was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. 49% of respondents were furloughed and 91% of them received no top-up pay from their practice in addition to the government’s 80% contribution.
The BVRA says it recommends that Registered Veterinary Receptionists (RVRs) are paid at least £10 per hour, irrespective of their age.
A lack of access to CPD was also an issue. 56% of respondents wanted to update and increase their knowledge but the same percentage claimed a lack of time was a barrier. With 80% of practices not allocating time for receptionists to undertake CPD and 44% receiving no budget for it, one respondent from a corporate practice confirmed that they could only undertake CPD in their own time, even that required by the company, such as training on health and safety and compliance.
While participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with their relationships with vets (71% were satisfied or very satisfied) and nurses (74% were satisfied or very satisfied), the same cannot be said for their relationships with practice managers. Fewer than half (46%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their relationship with their practice manager and 51% were satisfied or very satisfied with their relationship with the Clinical Director or Partner.
Only 26% were satisfied with their working relationship with head office (if part of a corporate group). Relationships were further strained during the COVID-19 pandemic with 71% of those furloughed saying communication with their practice boss had been average or poor.
As a final question, participants were asked to express their satisfaction with aspects of their role:
The BVRA and VMG are joining forces to host a free webinar to discuss the issues raised by the survey and potential solutions. Called 'Tackling Receptionist Morale Together', it will take place from 2.00pm-4.00 pm on Wednesday 25 November. For more information, visit: http://www.bvra.co.uk/event/bvra-vmg-tackling-receptionist-morale-together/
Brian Faulkner BSc (Hons), BVM&S, CertGP(SAM), CertGP(BPS), MBA, MSc(Psych), FRCVS, founder of the BRVA (pictured right), said: “BVRA is always working to improve the recognition, respect and job satisfaction of its members. We are delighted to team up with VMG as another way of doing this, alongside developing the status of a Registered Veterinary Receptionist.
Rich Casey is President of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG) said: “This report is sobering reading as it concerns the careers and wellbeing of a group of people who are essential to the success of any veterinary practice. The VMG is particularly interested in this research as a significant proportion of our members are practice managers and likely to be line managers of the reception team.
Leadership is about recognising when things aren’t working and putting them right. We commend the BVRA for highlighting these issues and we ask all veterinary leaders and managers to join our webinar as we discuss what can be done to resolve this crisis now, as well as the longer-term steps that are needed.”
Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.
VetSurgeon Jobs is the place to advertise and find permanent and locum jobs for veterinary surgeons in England | Scotland | Wales | Ireland and Worldwide. Follow VS Jobs on Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter
Learn more about advertising on VetSurgeon.org
Veterinary Forums | Veterinary News | Veterinary Galleries
Veterinary Anaesthesia | Veterinary Cardiology | Veterinary Dentistry | Veterinary Dermatology | Diagnostic Imaging | Veterinary ECC | Equine Medicine & Surgery | Farm Animal Medicine & Surgery | Veterinary Medicine | Veterinary Neurology Veterinary Oncology | Veterinary Ophthalmology | Veterinary Orthopaedics | Pathology/Cytology | Veterinary Surgery