Push to keep UQ Dayboro vet open

Push to keep UQ Dayboro vet clinic open

Dayboro residents are lobbying the University of Queensland to retain a veterinarian service in the town.

Late last year, UQ announced plans to cease operating the Dayboro veterinary clinic as a university-owned entity after more than 30 years.

Instead, the two-week training element at Dayboro that is part of the university’s veterinary science and veterinary technology degree programs would move to the Gatton campus.

All UQ veterinary science and veterinary technology degree programs have been taught at Gatton since 2010.

But residents fear the move will put pressure on other local vets and deny cattle owners vital access to specialised bovine veterinary services.

Mount Mee resident Millie Yee says while dairy farming has largely disappeared from the district, there is an increasing number of smaller beef farms cropping up, all of which rely on having specialised veterinarians close by.

“We’re new to farming, transitioning as we get older - we come to it from a solid financial background,” Millie says.

“It’s all about the breeding program, the genetics, the right quality of bull, getting the right offspring.

“We still need the expertise of vets, especially when it comes to birthing the cattle.

“There’s still a need, but it’s a different type of need.”

She says the UQ proposal took the community by surprise.

News a shock

“The first we heard of it was through one of the Dayboro Community members’ posts on Facebook,” Millie says.

“I had a town hall meeting just before Christmas and 100 people turned up – I was shocked, I was expecting about 30.”

Among those who attended were local vets, students hoping to undertake practical training at Dayboro and UQ School of Veterinary Science head Professor Nigel Perkins.

Strain on the system

“There was a young vet from another practice and he said all the vets are overloaded, they’re all busy and working very long hours,” Millie says.

“This is going to put more strain on the system and not many practices deal with bovines.

“People with cattle will struggle.”

Millie says those who attended urged Prof Perkins to ensure the service remained available.

“It’s clear that the final decision has not been made, so maybe there’s still hope,” she says.

In a statement on the UQ website, Prof Perkins says the university will extend the clinic’s operation to June 30.

“We understand the significance and prominence of a veterinary service in a community as close-knit as Dayboro and the level of interest about ongoing access to quality veterinary care for all types of animals,” he says.

Working on a solution

“UQ is actively working toward the continuation of a veterinary practice at the site, albeit one that operates privately.

“The University has already received multiple expressions of interest from individuals and organisations looking to continue a practice at UQ’s current Dayboro clinic.”

Prof Perkins says UQ has always envisioned making the facility available to a veterinary provider and that continues to be the preference.

“If, after the staff consultation period concludes, the proposed closure goes ahead, we will establish a transparent process to sell or lease the facility, with veterinary providers heavily prioritised.

“We sincerely hope a veterinary practice will continue to run under an alternate operator on the site and believe that such a service would be well placed to offer exceptional care to our patients and clients.”

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