Message from the Chair

9 April 2020

I wish to thank the profession for everything that has been done to keep essential veterinary services going in these extremely trying times. We are acutely aware that, like most of New Zealand, many veterinarians and veterinary businesses are struggling to cope with the effects of COVID-19. Despite this, veterinarians and their support teams have continued to protect and promote animal welfare and do what is right by their clients. This clearly justifies the Government's decision to class veterinary care as an essential service.

As you may know, we have been working very closely with the NZVA and MPI to provide clear and consistent guidance for the profession during this emergency and we will continue to do this. One of the key drivers of our thinking in the work we've been doing together has been protecting the special position veterinarians are in as an essential service. We believe that this was absolutely the right call and that New Zealand desperately needs veterinarians to keep operating. However, we're also very aware that the Government's position could change and that things could become much more directly controlled if veterinary businesses are found to not be doing their bit to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We know that we may be in a position where New Zealand moves in and out of level 4 over the coming weeks and months and it's important that veterinarians are always recognised to be essential service providers.

VCNZ and NZVA are now doing further work on what veterinary services look like at level 3 and you can expect some more information about this next week. Both organisations are working very hard to help veterinarians as a profession and individually so, if you need some guidance or help, please feel free to contact us.

Many of you will be working over the Easter holiday period but I hope that you manage to take some personal time and get a break. The bit in airline safety videos where passengers are told to secure their own oxygen mask before helping those around them is a common trope when talking about mental wellbeing and it still rings true despite those videos now becoming an increasingly distant memory. As a profession, we can only provide optimal care if we are at our best and, with that in mind, I strongly encourage you to spend some time on your wellbeing and of those in your teams, especially during the current crisis. There is a wealth of information available, including our own Wellbeing and COVID-19 page.

On behalf of VCNZ, thank you again for your continued dedication to the profession and the people and animals it serves. As we start looking towards what a post-pandemic New Zealand will look like, I hope that we can take with us some of the collaboration and community spirit that I've seen on display over the last couple of weeks.

    Lindsay Burton