About us

Government Veterinary Services supports public-sector veterinary professionals and promotes veterinary policy to other vets and the public.

Government vets provide an important service to the public, from disease control to safeguarding animal health and welfare. They work in a number of government departments and agencies, such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as well as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government Veterinary Services (GVS) works to:

  • attract and retain talented individuals to the GVS profession
  • improve the skills and capability of veterinary professionals across government to enable progression to Senior Civil Service level
  • improve learning and development opportunities for GVS professionals across government

All UK public sector vets are automatically members of GVS.

Our head of profession is Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer. She is supported by the GVS Steering Group, a board of senior veterinary managers from across government departments, agencies and the devolved administrations. To find out more, see the GVS steering group terms of reference.

Working for the Government Veterinary Service

The Government Veterinary Services offers the chance to make a real difference – from protecting animals and the public from diseases, to championing our world-class welfare standards and supporting the growth of our food industry at home and abroad.

You can find government veterinary vacancies on Civil Service jobs by selecting ‘veterinary services’ in the job role. You can also sign up for job alerts.

We regularly review the jobs and development opportunities available and highlight these on the GVS blog.

Professional development

Professional development is an important aspect of a career in state veterinary medicine and we give regular updates to members, which include training opportunities, events, mentoring and talent schemes on the GVS blog.

GVS member organisations and the wider civil service run a number of development schemes throughout the year. Check out the GVS blog and your local intranet for updates or talk to your manager about your development.

The GVS technical skills and behaviours supports the recruitment and development of our members. You can use this to find more about the skills, knowledge, behaviours and experience to allow you to thrive as a government vet.

Visit the GVS blog to find out more about our professional development opportunities. You can also read more from senior leaders and colleagues across the profession.

Some organisations also offer the opportunity to undertake secondments. Previous examples include secondments in Defra as veterinary advisors and inspection roles in the Home Office.

Extramural study placements for veterinary students

Veterinary students can apply for extramural study (EMS) placements with APHA in the summer before the final 2 years of their studies (or years 5 to 6 for Cambridge students).

These placements usually last 2 weeks and these can be in a number of areas such as field operations, laboratory work or policy making.

All universities hold the latest version of the application form. Please email EMS@apha.gov.uk with your completed application form or if you want to request a form. See further information on APHA’s GOV.UK page. Your application will be considered against available dates and APHA locations.

You can find an example of an EMS placement on the GVS blog.

More Information

You can find more information about the role of GVS and some of the work we are doing in the GVS workforce strategy for 2019-2022.

Corporate information

Jobs and contracts