Veterinary update: May 2020 COVID-19 survey results

Published: Thursday 2 July 2020

Further to our previous article regarding the impact of COVID-19 on turnover and staff costs, here is our update for May. 

Although we did not obtain a very large sample of data, we thought that you would find the results interesting and useful.  We have not therefore broken the data down between small animal, large animal, equine, etc.

Turnover

As a recap, if we total every practice’s turnover for March 2020 compared to 2019, turnover was 2% higher, indicating that there was growth in the run-up to the pandemic.  If we just look at practices where a reduction in turnover was seen, then the average percentage decrease was 11%, with the largest decrease being 35%. 

The average turnover variances for April and May are set out below:

  April May
Increase/(decrease) compared to same month in 2019 (27%) (10%)
Largest increase/(decrease) on same month in 2019 (63%) (37%)
Increase/(decrease) compared to February 2020 (33%) (18%)

 

For the purposes of the above, February 2020 is being treated as the last ‘normal’ month.

April was the first full month of lockdown but we have seen some improvement in May, presumably due to the relaxing of some of the restrictions placed on veterinary practices and practices getting used to a new way of working.

Staff costs

We have only included the cost of those employees still working i.e. not the furloughed employees. We have also not made any adjustment for those who are owners of the business.

When compared to February, a ‘normal’ month, the change in staff costs were as follows:

  March April May
Increase/(decrease) in staff costs (1.4%) (35%) (31%)

 

The fall in April staff costs is in line with the turnover decrease, when comparing April to February.  The May wage fall indicates that practices have generated extra turnover due to being able to do more following the RCVS guidelines but still using fewer staff.

The figures do not take into account any hours worked by owners or indeed additional hours worked by employees who may not have received overtime, in order to ensure the practice is safely operational.

Just a reminder, it is difficult to be conclusive on these results as it is a small data set, but useful nonetheless.

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Phil Swan
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