As you are all undoubtedly aware, Kent finds itself in the highest tier with regards to COVID restrictions. There are rules that we need to follow in order to keep you and each other safe. We must therefore ask you all once again to exhibit the patience and kindness that you extended to us and to each other throughout 2020, and to be as flexible as possible. This is a challenging situation for us all, and we appreciate that it can be stressful when you are worried about your pets. We will do our best to assist where we can.
Guidelines for our mobile service (van)
The current guidelines that are in place stipulate that the following must be arranged via remote (video or telephone) appointment:
- Medication reviews
- Repeat prescriptions
- Routine parasite treatment appointments
In addition, all conditions that are not life-threatening should be triaged via video or telephone appointment first. Patients can subsequently have a physical examination as and when deemed necessary. Conditions that may be included in the triage service are those such as:
- Lameness or limping
- Sneezing or coughing
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Skin conditions
Any condition causing pain or that is a welfare concern is likely to require an appointment in person. Some of the triaged appointments will also require an appointment in person.
Anything that is not causing pain, is not a welfare concern, and that can wait, must do so. This includes:
for a member of the team to apply routine treatments to your pet
- nail clips
check-up appointments (although these can be done remotely)
blood tests or blood pressure checks where the health status of the pet is
- a range
of other conditions – we will advise you of this, where applicable.
The guidelines relating to vaccination appointments are vague, but specify that pets should be protected against conditions causing a welfare concern. We have decided this should include diseases that we vaccinate against, and will therefore continue to provide appointments for this.
We will always make an assessment when we talk to you on the phone about whether your pet should be seen in person or via video link. If the latter, please rest assured that we can treat many conditions effectively this way. If your pet is deemed to require a physical consultation, please attend within 3 working days to avoid another consultation fee.
Guidelines for our static clinic
The majority of the information above will also apply to our new static clinic, Skylark Vets at Edenbridge. However, we also have the ability to see more cases in the clinic. To keep everyone as safe as possible, we will be asking you as owners to remain outside. Masks should be worn at all times, and please try to maintain 2m distance, where feasible. Please do not enter the clinic at all, where possible, and for limited times if impossible. We understand that this may be worrying for you, and will do our best to allay any fears you have. Please be assured that regardless of whether your pet is on our van or in our building without you, we will treat it with the care and respect that all our family members deserve.
We are likely to call you on the telephone prior to your appointment to discuss your concerns about your pet. Please therefore be prepared to be available for 5-10 minutes earlier in the day. In this way, we can simply look at your pet when you arrive. This minimises the time that you are apart, the stress experienced, and the time that you are in the cold!
Up-date on our new venture in Edenbridge and our Team
With the advent of our new sister clinic in Edenbridge, our team has grown significantly from just Heather and Charlotte. We now have Dawn as our receptionist and administrative assistant, who has done wonders with clearing a backlog of paperwork! We are adding Bex as a part-time nurse, and Nicky will continue to locum at times. Michelle C. will join us as an animal health care assistant on a part-time basis and will run various clinics. Michelle H.C. will be joining us as our full-time nurse, and will be manning the fort in Edenbridge whilst Charlotte is out on the van.
Everyone will be new to both our systems and the way we work! Please bear with us whilst we train together over the coming months.
Skylark Vets at Edenbridge
The promised day finally arrived on 11th December: Charlotte finally completed the sale on The Bungalow, Skinners Lane, Edenbridge. This has been a long time coming!
Our new static clinic, Skylark Vets at Edenbridge, will move into the adjacent building, where Edenbridge Veterinary Clinic was previously. We were hoping to open at the start of January. Unfortunately, the cleaning and renovation of the building has taken far longer than anticipated. We had hoped to open on 4th January but made the decision to delay until the following week because there was just too much to do. However, Charlotte has now tested positive for COVID-19 following the onset of suspected symptoms, so all work has ground to a halt. She will be in isolation for 10 days, so we will therefore not be opening until 14th January. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Although later than planned, we look forward to welcoming you and your pets to our new site!
Our mobile service will continue alongside the static clinic: we are expanding, not changing. We are hoping to welcome another vet to the team later this year so that we can split responsibilities between us, but in the meantime, Charlotte will be running both sites. Consultation times in both the mobile and the static clinic will therefore be slightly limited for a few months. We are aiming to provide a full-time service in both clinics as soon as possible.
Customers of Edenbridge Veterinary Clinic
Unfortunately, some confusion has arisen with regards to our relationship to Edenbridge Veterinary Clinic. For previous clients, allow me to explain the current position. We are a completely separate business and have not purchased the Edenbridge Veterinary Clinic. We are simply occupying the same building.
To this end, we do not have access to any patient notes and we are unable to provide repeat prescriptions or parasite treatments without first seeing the patient.
Under the GDPR laws, because we are a different company, we cannot apply for patient notes from the current practice management system. Sue has extended her license on it for 3 months until the end of January 2021. We are able to request patient notes until then, but after this, all information will be lost.
If you wish to have a copy of your pet’s notes, you are entitled to request them as legal owner. This can either be done by contacting VetOne (the current practice management system provider) or by contacting Sue for a copy of the notes. We are not at liberty to provide her details – again, because of GDPR. If you do not already have them, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org using ‘EVC history request’ as the subject line and we will forward your request. The e-mail should include your full name, your address and your pet’s (or pets’) name(s).
Registering with us
We are very happy to provide our services to previous customers of Edenbridge Veterinary Clinic. Please do just contact us or pop over to register your pets with us! Please remember to be vigilant when it comes to COVID.
If you wish to register for our mobile service, we would be happy to assist in this manner as well. We do require private parking – this must be on private property and off of council-owned roads or land. We are unable to provide a mobile service unless this condition is met because of legal and insurance restrictions.
Please note that there are still delays in the postal system, so there may be a delay in medications reaching you. We kindly request at least 1 week’s notice if you need more medication for your pet. This should allow us to order in medications and then get them sent out to you.
Thank you all for bearing with us during these trying times. We know how isolating and lonely life has seemed for many of you over the past year, and send our thoughts out to you all. Once the restrictions have lifted and we are all allowed to see each other again, we are hoping to start some tea/coffee mornings. This is not for your pets, but for you, to give you a chance to catch up with other humans over a hot (or cold) drink, meet new people (and hopefully new friends), chat about your pets if you like, and to provide some much-needed interaction. More to follow at a later date!