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Why is it so hard to get an appointment since Covid is "under control"?
The veterinary field is in crisis all across the country. There has been a shortage of qualified veterinary workers for a few years, but the situation is getting worse. Veterinary workers are suffering from long work hours, stress, compassion fatigue and sometimes depression and other mental health issues. As a result, many are leaving the field permanently. This is compounded by the steady increase in demand for veterinary services.
All hospitals in the Seattle area are having a difficult time finding qualified workers, particularly licensed veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians. The high cost of housing has made Seattle less attractive especially to new graduates, so there are not enough new workers entering the workforce
Those of us in West Seattle have the added problem of the West Seattle Bridge closure. Many of our employees live in outlying areas such as Redmond, Shorline, North Bend and Covington. With there being so many job opportunities closer to home, we have lost a significant number of staff members. We completely understand and support their difficult decision to depart. They already work eleven hour days and to spend two hours in the car on top of that is just not sustainable. And because there are so many veterinary positions open all over the city, most veterinary workers just aren't willing to consider commuting to West Seattle until the bridge reopens.
Due to our reduced staff size, we have had to eliminate our weekend hours. Our lobby will still be open on Saturdays from 9 AM to 5 PM; clients are able to pick up medicine, flea products, prescription diets, admit and pick up boarders. On Saturdays we do not have a doctor on-site and will not be able to provide any medical services or consultations.
Our staff is doing their absolute best to accommodate as many of our regular clients as we can. We know it's disheartening to have to wait days or weeks for an appointment and/or be referred to an emergency hospital. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to meet client demand as quickly as we are used to doing. It is a situation that is making the job even more difficult and stressful especially for our reception staff. We cannot thank you enough for being patient and polite with our staff.
We truly apologize that it has become so difficult to obtain veterinary services, not just at WSAH, but pretty much everywhere in the city. Please know that behind the scenes we are actively working to take care of the employees we are grateful to have, recruit new employees, increase efficiency, maintain a polite workplace and also take care of you and your pets too. We sincerely appreciate your trust and we hope to get back to normal as soon as possible!