BVA leads joint response from the veterinary professions to Competition and Markets Authority consultation - Veterinary Practice
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BVA leads joint response from the veterinary professions to Competition and Markets Authority consultation

At the BVA, we’re keen to see healthy competition and consumer choice

Following an initial review of the UK veterinary services market for pets, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded a consultation on a proposed Market Investigation Reference.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents over 19,000 vets across the UK, has submitted a joint response to the consultation with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS), the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and the Veterinary Management Group (VMG).

The submission provides further evidence for the CMA’s investigation of potential concerns. It is clear that certain voluntary measures relating to transparency of fees and ownership could be implemented swiftly and effectively prior to the conclusion of a market investigation. A BVA working group has been established to support the professions with this. It is already developing guidance on transparency, client choice and the value of veterinary care to support companion animal practices.

British Veterinary Association President Dr Anna Judson, said:

“Our latest submission to the CMA ensures a strong veterinary voice continues to be heard in this ongoing investigation. At the BVA, we’re keen to see healthy competition and consumer choice, and we recognise that some of the areas identified by the CMA would benefit from further scrutiny. We are already taking steps to support vet practices by developing guidance for the profession in relation to transparency of fees, transparency of ownership, prescribing and dispensing of veterinary medicines, and contextualised care.

“However, we are extremely disappointed to see the suggestion in the CMA’s report, as well as in subsequent media reporting, that veterinary professionals might prey on owners’ desire to do the best for their pets by using these circumstances as a strategy to promote more sophisticated or expensive treatment. Vets enter this high-pressure profession out of genuine care for animals and will always prioritise their health and welfare.

“We also have significant concerns about the suggestion that practices might be mandated to provide information to clients about quality or outcome-related measures. We do not see primary concerns about the quality of veterinary treatment, and we believe such a requirement would not meaningfully support consumer choice. Instead, it would be extremely challenging to deliver and could significantly exacerbate many of the complex issues faced by our members, who are already under significant pressure.

“Since the CMA launched its initial review, we know that vet teams in practice have faced an increase in abusive behaviour from clients. We encourage practices to use our #RespectYourVetTeam resources to help protect their teams from unacceptable client behaviour.”

BVA Live will dive deeper into the CMA investigation with a panel discussion and a dedicated Interactive Zone session. You can book your ticket and view the conference programme here. BVA members can benefit from our new educational bursaries to waive the cost of the BVA Live ticket or receive 50 percent off the price. Find out if you qualify at the BVA Live website.

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