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Struggle for vets

Monday, 4th January, 2016

By Emily Roberts

There were fears that the RSPCA will be without a vet until February, however it seems not all hope is lost.

After losing their permanent vet recently, the RSPCA NSW has been sending locums to fill the position.

But, local shelter manager Merridy Wall said they were having trouble getting locums to the city.

“Our permanent vet resigned in October and since then we have had locums,” she said.

“But our fill-in vet, Doug Dixon-Hughes will be leaving on January 4 as he has taken on another job.”

Before last Thursday, it looked like there was no one to fill that position until January.

Ms Wall said there was a locum booked in for February.

“We will struggle up until then, the locums have been organised from Sydney.

“They say they are doing their best to accommodate us.

“We were just planning to try our best to accommodate those who come in with vet consultations in Sydney.

“Everything that we can do legally we will.”

Ms Wall said they were contacted by head office on Thursday.

“They told me, we should have a vet here for the week of January 12,” she said.

“They also said that they were hoping to secure vets for the other times.”

Ms Wall said attracting a permanent vet has always been an issue.

“We’ve never gone this long without a vet though.

“We never really replaced Doug when he left a couple of years ago.

“We’ve had locums helping us.”

She said a few people have been annoyed when they found out there might not be a vet until February.

“It’s been hard just even having one vet, we’ve had to turn people away when the vet couldn’t physically do it.

“You can’t physically do it all. It puts extra pressure on the other vet in town.

“The city is just too big to have one vet available.

“We’re in a sorry state but we are working on it.

“All we can ask is that our clients be patient as we are doing our best to fulfil their needs.

“It’s not that we’re not trying.”

Broken Hill Veterinary Clinic’s Dr Guillame Tabuteau said it looked to be a stressful time as the only vet in the Silver City.

But now there is some hope with locums booked for a few weeks.

“It will put a lot of stress on me,” he said.

“But I will look after my clients.

“I will just be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the month.

“For the past 36 years, I have worked every single Christmas except one.”

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