COVID-19 FAQ

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) for the veterinary community

We’ve put together this COVID-19 FAQ page to help you find the information you’re looking for. If you have any further questions which don’t appear on this list, feel free to email us at [email protected]

I’ve been furloughed and am sitting at home and want to help Vetlife. Is there anything I can do right now? Is there anything I can do in the future?

We are so very grateful for your very kind offer of help at this difficult time.  Unfortunately, we are unable to run any training sessions at the moment. Training usually takes place as group learning session in a face to face environment and is vitally important for the wellbeing of our volunteers, as well ensuring a consistent and quality support for our callers. If you are not already on our waiting list and would like to apply to go onto it please let us know. Sadly, we had to cancel the initial training session scheduled for mid March 2020 and have a list of those who have already been through the telephone interview process so there is currently a backlog but that doesn’t mean we are not immensely grateful for your support.

In the meantime, once some form of normality returns, we would very grateful if you can think of any way in which to fundraise for us. As the demand on our three services rises during this difficult time, so do our costs.

Another way you can help is to share Vetlife social media posts, and signpost to our website. This will help to ensure that our message is reaching more of those who need our support. You can also order stickers with our Helpline number which can be displayed around your workplace. You can order these for free through our website, although please be aware we will only be able to send these out once our staff have returned to the office.

Have you seen a rise in contacts to Vetlife?

We have seen an increase in contacts since the beginning of March, many of which are COVID-19 related.

Where does Vetlife get its money from?

Vetlife is financed through a variety of sources. Additional to annual subscriptions of those taking up membership of the charity, it welcomes funds from such diverse sources as salary sacrifice contributions, inspirational fund raising activities by many members of the veterinary community, generous donations from veterinary member associations, supportive suppliers and grant funding from the Mind Matters Initiative and the Veterinary Defence Society. It also draws dividends from the more than 100 year old Veterinary Benevolent Fund, which its Trustees manage to provide ongoing support for its Vetlife charitable activities.

Is Vetlife financially sound?

Like all charities which rely on invested funds for a component of their income, the recent substantial decline in investments markets has had an impact on the funds available to Vetlife. However, whilst no Board of Trustees might have predicted the precise current situation, it has long been the policy of Vetlife to keep careful oversight of its costs and to always seek to have sufficient reserves to weather an unexpected storm, whilst maintaining its support of those in the veterinary community in need of its services. Vetlife welcomes any additional support it may receive in the current environment, but will continue to utilise its funds to  maximise the benefit it can deliver to all those it serves.

I’m very worried about a colleague, what should I do?

Take any distress which people talk to you about seriously – it can be very hard for veterinary professionals to reach out for help, so if someone is asking for help because they are suffering with mental health problems or intense distress that’s always important. Listen to how they are feeling and make sure you’ve got time to do this, people may want support in different ways at different times. Encourage them to reach out for professional help if they need it, Vetlife Helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year and is also able to offer confidential support for those concerned about a colleague.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

We accept applications all year round. The Financial Support Application Form is available to download here.
You can request for a copy to be sent to you via post by contacting the Vetlife office on 0207 908 6374 or via e-mail, [email protected]. Guidance notes for completing the form are available on the same webpage.

What information does Vetlife require to help me financially?

The application form will ask for personal details about you, anyone else living in your house, and those who are dependent on you financially. We also ask for 3 months’ bank statements and additional information about your debts, loans, benefits and income. If you need help with the form, please contact the office.

I need financial help right now. During this critical period is Vetlife going to relax its eligibility criteria?

Vetlife Financial Support requires an application to be made in all circumstances before financial assistance can be considered. We recognise that each situation is unique and we will work with you to gather the information we need. It is often possible for us to provide emergency grants at very short notice when necessary.

I’m a self-employed locum and have had to apply for government help. I won’t get any money until June, can Vetlife provide me with a loan to tide me over?

No, it is illegal for Vetlife to provide loans. All financial support is given with no expectation or future requirement on behalf of the veterinary surgeon or their families.

I’ve recently moved jobs and am very worried that I might be ‘let go’. If that happens will Vetlife help me?

Vetlife Financial Support provides financial assistance for all UK-based veterinary surgeons who meet the criteria. We would encourage you to apply in the event that you are made redundant.

I’m in need of legal employment advice

BVA members can access the BVA legal helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to speak to a team of specialist legal advisers about any professional or personal subject.

Why does Vetlife only support vet surgeons financially?

Please see blog: https://www.vetlife.org.uk/financial-support-eligibility/