Seadown - where we are at…
Well shops are all opening, people are getting out and about, people are going back to work- so why have we not gone back to “business as usual”?
Firstly, can I say thank you to all our clients for their patience and understanding during the last few months. I know it has been frustrating that you have not had the access to us as normal, but hopefully you have managed to have questions answered, medications dispensed and your pets treated as needed.
Secondly, a massive thanks to our fantastic staff - those we have had to furlough have been understanding during a worrying time, and those who have continued to work have been incredibly adaptable to new technologies and ways of working - you are all amazing.
We are now bringing more staff back, bit by bit, letting them get used to the “new normal”. Lymington and Totton branches are open- not fully but at least a few times a week. We are continuing to run vaccination clinics for each branch every week- we have been inviting our patients in order of urgency to get them back up to date on vaccines, and once this has happened will start offering vaccine appointments as normal.
Please be aware that we cannot just open the doors as before. We are a busy practice and the biggest risk to you and us is to have lots of clients back in the building. Our large carpark at Hythe has now turned into a big waiting room, and the normal waiting room has been transformed into a large examination area so that staff can work efficiently but in a socially distant way as much as possible.
Each appointment is taking twice as long and involving 2 members of staff (one to examine and one to hold) - for this reason we cannot offer as many in-clinic appointments as normal (25 a day instead of 48) so we are continuing to use the phone and video medium as much as we can, but by increasing staff levels and opening the branches we are gradually able to offer some more.
For operations, we have a long list of those that have been put off, and we have been getting in touch with clients to start booking them in. Routine surgeries will start being considered. Examining, anaesthetising and operating on your pets means that we have to work closely together (no way can we do this at a 2m distance!!) so we have to balance the need of your pets with the risks to our staff, as I am sure you can understand.
You can still keep in touch - we can still answer the phone, but as this can get incredibly busy we still have all the other ways.
Email - this is checked continually through the day. Enquiries for the vets are dealt with as and when the vets have time, so if it is urgent we would suggest you book an appointment instead (this can be by phone or video - you can book these on “Book appointment” on our website ). Insurance enquiries are forwarded to Trish and Alison, who are in all week processing your claims. Invoice questions go to Jan or Wendy who are working from home.
Pets app - this little app has been a godsend. Our clients have been able to create a “chat” with us, asking questions, sending photos and videos, making payments, organising medications etc. We even have a weekly update from one little kitten who has been Team 2’s mascot throughout this time!
On-line booking - this has been working really well. This is now open to book all sorts of appointment, including ordering your repeat prescriptions - there is also the facility to pre-authorise your card so that you can pay easily after your appointment.
Video consulting platform - After booking an appointment and authorising payment, you are sent an email link - this gives you access ,at your appointment time , to our vet, who is often working remotely. We do find sometimes having pre-recorded videos and photos sent across beforehand can help - it is amazing how many of our patients disappear when the video consult starts!
Phone - we can still take phone calls, so if you cannot access us in any other way, or need urgent attention please still call - however please also be patient if the phone is engaged or you are held in a queue.
So keep in touch and know that we are still here for you, but contact might still be slightly different to normal. We are gradually opening up more but our priority has to be about being able to treat your pets, while keeping you and our staff safe and thus able to provide our normal service!