For the 23e times, the veterinarians working in Creuse responded to the invitation of Philippe Monteil, President of GDS Creuse and Nicolas Athanassiadis, President of the Veterinary Technical Group 23. .
The veterinary network, a national issue…
Jean-Claude Colombo, representative of the Regional Council of the Order of Veterinarians of New Aquitaine (CROV NA), presented the assessment elements of the veterinary network in France and in our department. The problem indeed goes far beyond the borders of our territory and concerns above all the sector of care for livestock. More than 1,000 veterinarians register every year in France (half of whom are of foreign origin) but this is not enough to meet the needs due to retirements and the increase in overall activity, essentially linked to the exercise on pets. There would be a shortage of more than 500 veterinarians each year. The expectations of young veterinarians have also evolved, with the desire to maintain a good balance between private life and professional life, and more than half of the veterinarians who stop private practice are under 45 years old.
… with specificities for Creuse
Our department suffers from well-known handicaps which concern all professions: poor image of rurality, geographical isolation, difficulty of access to certain services… For the veterinary profession, we have a negative net demographic balance and registered veterinarians have an average of age well above the national average, which suggests that the worst is still ahead of us, with the retirement of these practitioners. The tensions in the breeding world and the aging of breeders are not a favorable factor for the installation of new colleagues either. We are seeing the establishment of chains of veterinary practices, which are buying up the structures. Their ambition remains to maintain a rural activity in the structures, but it is clear that they encounter the same recruitment difficulties.
Corrèze, a precursor of specific actions to reverse the trend…
David Quint, Vice-President of the National Union of Freelance Veterinarians (SNVEL), then presented the actions implemented in Corrèze. Faced with the same problem, the Departmental Council of Corrèze implemented financial measures in 2021 allowing the discovery of exercise on livestock for students in veterinary schools as well as aid for the installation and modernization of structures. The permanence and continuity of care being regularly cited as the main constraint of the veterinary profession, a telephone dispatch service has been installed, the SAVU 19. Outside the opening hours of the practices, people wishing to contact their veterinarian are put in contact with a telephone service which takes the request into account, assesses the urgency and refers to the on-call veterinarian if necessary. This device, duplicated from what exists in humans, started in the fall of 2022 and its evolution deserves to be monitored.
… the Departmental Council of Creuse which is also mobilizing…
Bertrand Labar, representing the Departmental Council, presented the “Plan Vetos 23” (see box). Since September 2022, financial aid has been offered to veterinary students to facilitate their internship in Creuse veterinary practices with rural activity (travel, accommodation). A study grant of €800 per month for the last two years of schooling can also be granted to young veterinarians who undertake to practice for at least 5 years in Creuse. We must welcome this initiative of our Departmental Council, the market for young veterinarians is likely to become more and more competitive, these measures will make it possible to attract young people with a profile corresponding to our expectations.
… and likely future regional measures
Ghislain Audusseau, Director of GDS 79, presented the first elements of the European Partnership for Innovation (PEI-AGRI). These are funds that will be deployed at the regional level to support actions related to the agricultural world, including the veterinary network. Territories have been chosen for the emergence phase, the first stage of this PEI, the conclusions of which are expected by the end of 2023. For Poitou-Charentes, several measures have been identified around 3 axes: strengthening the vet/breeder relationship, thinking about a new organization of veterinary structures and reflect on the methods of recruiting young veterinarians. From 2024, the chosen measures will be deployed in the operational phase, probably on a regional scale. At the same time, the Regional Council is already helping students on tutored internships and has released a substantial budget for the creation of a 6e veterinary school in Limoges. The objective is to have a pool of young practitioners from the territory or who know it and are likely to stay there. Finally, support measures for investment and equipment for rural veterinary surgeries are planned.
Plan Vetos 23 (CD 23)
La Creuse is one of the 3 departments (with Corrèze and Isère) having decided to allocate financial means to encourage vocations in rural practice and attract young veterinarians. The help of the Departmental Council through the “Plan Vetos 23” is made on 2 axes, a participation in the financing of student internships in the veterinary practices of the department (travel and accommodation) and a scholarship offer during 2 last years of school in exchange for the commitment to practice in Creuse for at least 5 years. You can find all the details on the website www.esprit-creuse.fr, section “veterinarians”.
Favorable feedback from the veterinarians present
At the end of these presentations, a round table was organized which allowed everyone to express themselves. It can be seen that the firms that succeed in recruiting are those that offer the best working conditions, in particular alternating working days and periods of rest. The proposed financial measures, departmental or regional, were unanimously welcomed and should facilitate the arrival of trainees likely to stay on our territory. It remains to distribute them widely to veterinary schools, French and foreign. If the horizon of the veterinary school in Limoges may seem distant compared to the urgency of the situation, it remains a laudable project and to be supported. Finally, a request was expressed to organize an annual meeting between the young colleagues of the department, GDS Creuse retained the idea and will take care of organizing it.
A day rich in exchanges and bringing hope in the medium term
If the veterinary network on the Creuse is likely to deteriorate in the coming years, let’s hope that collective mobilization through the measures implemented will improve the situation. At the same time, we remain concerned about the evolution of the livestock economy, because if it is certain that breeders need veterinarians at their side, the reciprocal is just as important. For more information, please feel free to contact us.
Dr Boris BOUBET – GDS Creuse – Dr Nicolas ATHANASSIADIS – GTV 23