Report: On-call veterinary services face a challenge

Government Communications Department
31.1.2017 9.34 | Published in English on 31.1.2017 at 12.13
Press release 41/2017

If municipal veterinary services are cut back, private service providers will be interested in expanding their services in the future. However, it is highly unlikely that private services will be available on market terms throughout Finland. A report released by the Natural Resources Institute Finland concludes that the provision of nationwide round-the-clock on-call services, in particular, will be a challenge.

Currently, municipal veterinary services are available throughout the country. “Depending on the method of calculation, municipalities incurred a total cost of EUR 43–57 million in 2015 for the provision of veterinary services, of which livestock accounts for about EUR 20 million,” says Research Professor Jarkko Niemi of the Natural Resources Institute.

According to the survey carried out among private veterinary service providers, 27–40 per cent would be ready to expand their services if municipalities were to cut back their veterinary services or if they were priced according to production costs. Some respondents would also be willing to offer on-call services.

“Basic veterinary services would be available Monday-Friday quite extensively from private providers, particularly for pets, but on-call services pose a challenge. On-call services would probably not be offered on market terms across the country,” says Niemi.

Other concerns include the increasing size of the veterinaries’ operating areas, relocation of services further away from customers and the risk of price increases if the volume of services offered by private operators grows.

Society plays an important role in ensure the availability of veterinary services. It can produce the services itself, purchase them from private providers or support private services financially and by facilitating the operation of the markets. As it is, more than one-third of the partnership areas for environmental health services purchase their veterinary services, primarily consisting of on-call services for pets.

The report was prepared as part of the implementation of the Government plan for analysis, assessment and research for 2016

Report by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (in Finnish)

For more information on the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities, see


Research Professor Jarkko Niemi, Natural Resources Institute Finland, tel.  +358 (0)29 532 6392;

Researcher Timo Karhula, Natural Resources Institute Finland, timo.karhula (at), tel. +358 (0)29 532 6392

Researcher Kauko Koikkalainen, Natural Resources Institute Finland, kauko.koikkalainen (at), Tel +358 (0)295 326 257