The RCVS has published a Workforce Action Plan which sets out ways to mitigate the ongoing workforce crisis in the veterinary profession. 

The Action Plan presents what the College is doing to tackle the issue and explains how collaboration, culture change, career development and leadership, among other things, could help with workforce shortages by improving retention of current members of the professions, encouraging more people to join, and making it easier for those who have left the professions to return.

The report lists seven main areas to be addressed:

  • Shape leaders at all levels: this includes promoting inclusive everyday leadership; ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion considerations are embedded at all career stages; and launching more opportunities for free and accessible learning resources.
  • Confidence, culture and recognition: ensuring that there’s a welcoming and supportive environment for the whole veterinary team; and continuing to deliver to raise awareness and signpost mental health support.
  • Greater responsibility for veterinary nurses: demonstrating the capabilities of the veterinary nursing role, ensuring clear career pathways for veterinary nurses, and continuing to progress the need for legislative change which would see veterinary nurses gain more autonomy and responsibility.
  • Welcoming a modern way of working: including promoting return-to-work support for both clinical and non-clinical veterinary roles, continuing to strengthen relations between the UK and overseas regulators and representative bodies; and encouraging the use of innovation and technology to tackle some of the sector’s major challenges.
  • General practice – a chosen pathway: encouraging confidence in pursuing a career in general practice and the opportunities it offers, encouraging shared training where appropriate between vets and vet nurses at undergraduate level, and learn and model against other professions, such as the medical profession.
  • An attractive career for everyone, including those who’ve left: continuing to promote direct RCVS accreditation of overseas veterinary degrees, launching an Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) policy that leads to a more consistent high-quality experience for students and providers, and ensuring employers understand the re-entry process, and the importance of welcoming people back after career breaks.
  • Improving client interaction and communication: elevating and driving the status of communication and other interpersonal skills in the professions, developing clearer and more easily accessible explanations of the veterinary role and the scope of vet and vet nurse roles to the general public.

The full list of actions, with context about what has fed into ambitions, can be found in the Action Plan which is downloadable at

Dr Sue Paterson FRCVS, Junior Vice-President and Chair of the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee, said: “This is a very complex, broad and multi-faceted area of concern so the Action Plan has been a long time in the making to ensure that we adequately capture what needs doing and how, in order to enable us to work collaboratively with all veterinary organisations going forward.

"This is not a finished list, but gives all within the veterinary sector the ability to look at the key areas of work that need to be done and prioritise the ones that most suit their organisational needs."

PS: Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.