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Change in out-of-hours care

At the beginning of lockdown due to Covid-19, we took the decision to ask Vets Now to provide our out-of-hours veterinary service. This was a very straightforward decision that had to be made in unprecedented circumstances and was understood and supported by the vast majority of our clients.

The reality is that the out-of-hours service we were providing prior to Covid-19 was proving ever harder to sustain and was only maintained by the significant personal sacrifice of our team members and their families. We are sure that it cannot have escaped many clients’ notice that our turnover of staff, most notably our vets, was higher than we would wish and this in very large part was due to our continuing to provide the level of out-of-hours care we prided ourselves on.

Many of us grew up with the James Herriot vision of what a vet should be but small animal veterinary work in the 21st century is a world away in terms of intensity and expectation from clients, and the latter rightly so. Covid-19 has changed the world we live in and caused most of us to pause and re-evaluate many aspects of our life. Setting aside the financial ramifications of Covid-19 and trying to get back to the service we were providing, of more importance is the health and wellbeing of our teams and the service they provide our clients during normal opening hours. Ensuring the continued safety of our staff and clients is now more important than ever and the persistence of Covid-19 has necessitated permanently changing our working patterns, causing yet further strain on staff.

We want well-rested, focused, enthusiastic daytime vets and nurses delivering the very best first-opinion veterinary care. We need dedicated and stable teams with the opportunity to develop their skills within our practice, helping to increase the range and complexity of treatments we are able to offer. We also want the very best out-of-hours care for our patients but unfortunately, our practice is simply not large enough to employ a bespoke night vet.

After much thought, we have decided to partner with Vets Now permanently from Monday 5th October 2020. The company has been concentrating on out of hours veterinary work for nearly 20 years with their veterinary teams being trained in emergency and critical care.

They have built up a wide experience of providing veterinary care through the night, at weekends and on bank holidays, thereby helping us to achieve the goals outlined above.

We have listened to feedback from our clients and appreciate that transporting your pet between our surgeries and Vets Now is often inconvenient and unsettling for owners.

We had no option but to ask clients to do this themselves during Covid-19 but we are pleased to say that it is our objective that our teams will do this for you. We aim to have this in place by 1st November 2020.

We have provided pet care 24/7 for over 100 years, by partnering with Vets Now we hope that Highcliff can continue to do so for at least 100 more.

Outside of our normal opening times, you will now be able to contact either Vets Now Ipswich or Vets Now Colchester; find their details on our Services & facilities page.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Directors

Highcliff Vets