BVNA responds to Competition and Markets Authority announcement to launch market investigation of veterinary sector

Following its most recent consultation on its proposals, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today announced that it will proceed to a formal ‘market investigation’ of the UK veterinary services markets for household pets.

The CMA has confirmed that its key concerns remain the same as in March, followed its initial review which received over 56,000 responses from members of the public and veterinary professions. The market investigation will continue to explore whether:

  • Consumers are getting the information they need, at the right time, to make informed decisions
  • A limited choice of vet businesses in some local areas is impacting pet owners
  • Profits earned are consistent with the levels expected in a competitive market
  • Vet businesses have the incentive and ability to limit consumer choice when providing treatments or recommending related services, particularly when they are part of large integrated groups
  • The regulatory framework is preventing the market from functioning as well as it could

Representing the veterinary nursing profession, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) will continue to engage with the CMA throughout this market investigation.

BVNA President Lyndsay Hughes said: “Veterinary nurses contribute significant value to the veterinary team, delivering outstanding care for pets and clients alike. Fees for veterinary services reflect the technically skilled care provided by the entire veterinary team, plus running costs such as the specialised equipment, maintenance and medications required – among others. Whilst we acknowledge the value of this care, we also acknowledge the need to improve transparency and choice for clients.

“We continue to support the profession as the CMA investigation unfolds. Since the initial launch of the review back in September 2023, we have listened to our members who have been subject to unacceptable and abusive client behaviour. Ensuring animal welfare is paramount to all members of the veterinary team, most of whom are notably not responsible for setting a practice’s fees. BVNA does not condone any form of abuse of our veterinary colleagues, whether in-person or online.

“We remain encouraged that the CMA is continuing its work to include evaluation of the outdated Veterinary Surgeons Act, of which BVNA has long been campaigning for reform. Reformed legislation would improve transparency for the provision of veterinary services, via regulation of individual practices and businesses. In addition, we also support that transparency to clients would be improved via statutory protection of the title ‘veterinary nurse’. Reserving this title only for those who are properly qualified and regulated would enhance both public trust, and the recognition of value for veterinary nursing care. We hope that, in preparation for the upcoming General Election, political parties will consider the CMA’s work as evidence of the pressing need to update the Veterinary Surgeons Act – which no longer reflects our profession, or the context of our work.”

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