British Veterinary Association responds to ‘market investigation’ of the veterinary sector

Lifestyle / Thu 23rd May 2024 at 08:57am

THE Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a formal ‘market investigation’ into the UK’s veterinary services market for household pets, following the conclusion of a consultation on the proposals last month.

The CMA has confirmed that its initial concerns remain the same as in March and it will proceed with the market investigation which will further explore whether:

  • consumers are getting the information they need, at the right time, to make informed decisions
  • a limited choice of vet businesses in some local areas is impacting pet owners
  • profits earned are consistent with the levels expected in a competitive market
  • vet businesses have the incentive and ability to limit consumer choice when providing treatments or recommending related services, particularly when they are part of large integrated groups
  • the regulatory framework is preventing the market from functioning as well as it could

The CMA will set up and inquiry group to oversee the investigation made up of independent experts and chaired by Martin Coleman.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents more than 19,000 vets across the UK, responds to the CMA’s market investigation:

British Veterinary Association President Dr. Anna Judson, said:

“Vets take immense pride in the high-quality service and specialised medical care they provide the UK’s animals and their owners. Whilst fees reflect the investment needed to keep practices financially viable and open, we recognise more can be done to improve client choice and vet teams are already taking action to address the Competition and Markets Authority’s specific concerns around transparency of fees and practice ownership.

“As the CMA undertakes its investigation, it’s important to remember that vets genuinely care and prioritise the health and welfare of animals – it’s often their motivation for entering what is a highly pressured profession. Since the CMA first announced their review, vet teams in practice have found themselves on the end of really unpleasant, often abusive behaviour. This is unacceptable and we urge everyone to remember that vets are people and are often not responsible for the pricing structures within a practice.

“The Competition and Markets Authority has acknowledged that urgent reform of the outdated Veterinary Surgeons Act is needed and regulation of vet practices should be introduced, a change BVA has consistently campaigned for. As it stands, the legislation is not fit for purpose and is failing both vet teams and clients. We hope the CMA’s market investigation will further interrogate the need for reform and support our calls urgent cross-party support for action and inclusion in party political manifestos as we head towards a General Election.”

BVA recently published guidance to help vet practices provide greater client choice, by improving transparency around fees and practice ownership. The guidance gives veterinary professionals the tools needed to address some of the concerns raised by the CMA following its initial review of the veterinary services market for pets in the UK.  

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5 Comments for British Veterinary Association responds to ‘market investigation’ of the veterinary sector:

2024-05-23 11:12:15

Vets vary considerably and it seems some of the big companies don't offer local emergency services but charge top rates and add charges like £250 for each time they look at an X ray they have previously taken, so in addition to the charge for taking the X ray two "looks" costs an additional £500. Friend had a cat that actually only needed pain relief tablets for 24 hrs, vet charged over £1000. Time the industry and the rates they charge was regulated.

2024-05-23 21:41:02

Vets charge extortionate rates. The prices they charge need to be looked into and regulated.

Jean Young
2024-05-24 10:45:44

It's not only the cost, but the quality of the treatment too. My son's cat was spayed recently, she had an enormous amount of fur shaved from her side, and a large incision. I was a veterinary nurse, and our cat spays resulted in much neater hair clipping and surgical wounds; and they would return for stitch removal and check up, rather than send a photograph of the operation site. Are they even qualified? No name plates outside the veterinary practices makes you wonder. Appallingly low quality veterinary services at extortionately high prices seems to be the new normal.

2024-05-24 19:54:53

This is what happens when you allow corporates into profession. Becomes money driven. Look at where you pension find is going. You might find you might even have a shares in the vet business you taking the your pet too. Vets are mostly employees and have very little to say about the practice policies including pricing. They are under increasing pressures from business owners and pet owners hence low retention rates and high suicide rates in the profession. Business needs to be regulated and there should be a standard of care for the industry and it's workforce otherwise pets and their owners will suffer

Sylvia Costigan
2024-05-24 21:41:42

Last October my elderly cat had a stroke so we knew it was time. I contacted our vet who said bring her in which we did, we waited 45mns, in this time they took her and put her in a cage. When the vet called us through she told us she had a possible thyroid problem which may have caused the stroke but also a large mass in her belly, I explained we had already decided to have her put to sleep, the coat for this £213! Our cat was tiny but it's a set fee,I cannot understand how you can have a set fee,every animal is different this practice is part of a group , he certainly have now moved to an independent!

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