FVE surveyed the shortage of veterinarians in rural and remote areas in Europe.
A questionnaire was addressed to the FVE Members organisations and target contacts within competent authorities. Data were received for 28 countries, namely: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK.
The reported reasons for the lack of veterinary professionals in rural and remote areas are diverse: unfavourable working conditions, difficulties to achieve the desired work/life balance and weak demand as some farmers cannot afford veterinary services.
The consequences of this problem affect veterinarians, animals and farmers alike.
By extension, it limits the economic development of rural areas. The increased workload for the remaining veterinarians tends to lead to burnout and retention problems. In some cases, veterinarians need to engage in outside activities, such as cattle insemination, to make up for the low demand of other types of services such as preventive work.
Some countries have already taken measures to tackle the problem with different strategies.