Changes at City Road, Accomplishments and Taffy the “Miracle Dog”
Apologies to all our readers for not posting recently. Despite best intentions to write a regular blog, it’s very easy to let these things slide especially when caught up within the daily nitty-gritty of working within a busy veterinary practice. (We are bombarded by marketing agencies on a regular basis who will write blogs for you, but they tend to be less personal and specific than if written by ourselves.)
So what have we been up to since last time. The business gurus term the above busyness as being caught in the Busy trap. That is when you are just too overloaded with patients and the process of getting them better/maintaining their health to be able to concentrate on getting things right within the practice. When you are caught in the “Busy Trap”, you become less effective, less efficient and thats when things can start to go wrong. Now I’m not saying that things did go wrong, but we made a decision to alter the way we did them before they had a chance to.
Since the days of Tony Dyson and Mike Kingdon in the early 1970’s this practice operated an open surgery system. i.e As long as you turned up within allotted surgery times, your pet would be seen. Waiting times would be variable (from none to 1.5 hrs), the car park would resemble Oxford Street two saturdays before Christmas and pets, clients and vets’ B.P readings I’d imagine might be higher than normal. Vets would not be able to plan their day and we just couldn’t possibly know when clients and pets would represent for a follow up.
It all came to a head one saturday morning surgery. Normal surgery time runs from 9 to 11.30 am, but we all finished that saturday at 2pm, having seen 24 patients. I often am amazed how people are prepared to wait for 90 minutes in a open surgery , and then pay ! I certainly wouldn’t. As a vet, one just isn’t able to provide a service and create value for that client knowing that there are 10 people in the waiting room behind them.
So we made the decision (with great trepidation) in August 2015 to change some of the open surgeries to appointment only. This has proved a great success , so much so that from March 7th, all visits will be by appointment only. Of course, if you need to be seen urgently and do not have an appointment, we would always accommodate you, so no need to worry on that front.
The second major change we have made was to introduce Nursing clinics. Before these, approximately 30% of the vets consults were taken up with things that qualified veterinary nurses were more than capable of doing. Claw clips, anal glands, wellness checks, suture removals are now handled by our VNS which frees up more time for the vets to be able to concentrate on diagnosis and treatments of other cases.
You may be aware that Corporatisation within the veterinary world is on the increase with about 30% of practices being owned by the Corporate sector. City Road veterinary centre has no intention of losing its individuality and remains strongly independent. Although we might not be able to compete with the gargantuan buying power of corporate veterinary groups, where we are competing in and doing very well with is the enhancement of the customer experience. Indeed that’s what sets us apart from many other “bog standard” practices. All members of staff (including the vets) have been trained how to answer the telephone, Vets and Nurses have been given tuition on how to carry out the perfect consultation, and our receptionists on how to provide perfect customer care.
The way that our practice and it’s team members holds itself is reflected by our recent achievements in being nominated for Pet Plan practice/Vet/Nurse/receptionist of the year. In addition, we are regularly mystery telephone shopped, and our staff are marked according to how engaging they are, and how much information they can relay. Out of over 4000 practices mystery shopped in 2015, City Road vets came second – an amazing achievement. Two years ago, we were runner up in the Vethelpdirect veterinary practice of the year !!
And now onto Taffy the Miracle dog. Taffy is a 10 year old Cocker spaniel boy who was sent over from our emergency clinic, CVETs, one summer weekday morning last year. He presented to them with neurological signs, having had a seizure. He was recumbent, and very depressed by the time we saw him in the morning. Closer examination revealed a very irregular and erratic heartbeat which we suspected as the cause of his weakness.
Splenic mass visible just above and to the left of the X-ray label
Further investigation included imaging of his abdomen which revealed a splenic mass.
Despite the obvious anaesthetic risks, an emergency operation was carried out to remove the spleen and the attached tumour which had ruptured and was now bleeding internally. Over the next few days, Taffy gradually improved and was discharged. Fortunately histopathology revealed the tumour to be benign. Close monitoring of Taffy over the last few months have confirmed that thankfully he is back to normal and has made a full recovery.