Over 1,600 EU-qualified veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses have already responded to a second survey by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Brexit survey.

There is still almost a month to go before the final responses for the survey, which considers veterinary professionals' views on the implications of the UK’s decision to exit the European Union, have to be in.

The original survey was sent last year to more than 5,000 UK-registered veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who gained their qualification from a non-UK EU institution, with a response rate of around 55%.

This year the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), on behalf of the RCVS, contacted over 6,000 veterinary surgeons and almost 50 veterinary nurses.

The figure includes those previously surveyed as well as EU registrants who have joined since the last survey – who trained in non-UK EU countries to seek their views.

This will help inform how the RCVS makes its representations to the government. Already more than 1,600 people have responded to the survey.

Chris Tufnell, RCVS senior vice president and chairman of the college’s Brexit Taskforce, said: “The aim of this survey is to gain a greater understanding of the views and expectations of our EU colleagues now that certain elements of the UK’s withdrawal process from the European Union, as well as the timing, have become clearer.

"The survey will also be looking for the views of colleagues on how the college has addressed the challenges of Brexit so far.

It is particularly important that those who responded to last year’s survey do so this year because the aim is to get a sense of how their views and plans are shifting as the Brexit process moves forward.

It's hoped the consultation will:

  • Help the college understand the immediate and longer-term impact of Brexit;
  • Gather evidence that could be used to make a case for special treatment of veterinary professionals with regard to future immigration policies; and
  • Provide informed advice to European veterinary professionals as they make decisions about their future careers.

Dr. Tufnell added: “I would strongly encourage EU veterinary professionals to respond to this survey, even if they didn’t do so last year, as their views really do matter to us and really do have an impact on our Brexit policies and the views we put forward to the government in these critical times.”

The deadline for sending responses to the IES is Wednesday, July 18, and all data will be managed and analysed by IES, an independent not-for-profit research institute, on a confidential basis with no individual responses being seen by the RCVS.

The RCVS is intending to conduct a third survey when the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and the impact of this on non-UK EU nationals, are better defined.

The college's Brexit Principles set out the views of the industry in relation to mitigating the risks and maximising the opportunities of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

At the meeting of RCVS Council on Thursday, June 14, members agreed on a minor addition to the principles to include the pledge that the College would advocate ‘that no restrictions are placed on the free movement of EU-qualified veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses, or on access to evidence, that would jeopardise veterinary research in the UK.’