Consultations and Emergency Treatment

Consultations are by appointment only, our normal consulting hours being:

Monday and Friday                                                    8.40 am to 7.00 pm

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday                       8.40 am to 8.00 pm

Saturday                                                                      8.30 am to 1.00 pm

We offer an in-house service for emergencies, which means that your pet will be seen by one of our vets who have access to your pet’s treatment records. To access this service clients should telephone the normal surgery number (01530 836654) and follow the instructions given. Although no-one lives on the premises, a veterinary surgeon and veterinary nurse are ‘on duty’ throughout the night to ensure appropriate patient care can be given. Fee levels for the out of hours services are based on the time of the emergency call-out, the time required to treat the animal and the procedures, drugs and materials required. Registered clients, where the pet being presented has been vaccinated by Cockburn Veterinary Group during the preceding 12 months, will receive a 20% loyalty discount on the emergency call out fee. This does not apply to any medication, treatment or procedures required during this consultation.

Emergencies during normal opening hours will always be seen as soon as possible. It is very helpful if clients telephone the practice when an emergency arises, so immediate practical advice can be given and to let us that they are on their way, so preparations can be made for their arrival.

Owners are responsible for keeping their pet under control whilst in the waiting room area. Dogs must be kept on appropriate leads; cats in secure cat baskets; and rabbits, rats and guinea pigs in secure containers. A dedicated cat waiting area is provided, and we are happy to provide covers for cat baskets where required. These can be obtained from reception and should be returned reception at the end of your visit. Please note that some dogs, in particular, need space and this may be indicated by the dog wearing a yellow ribbon, bandana or something similar on its lead or collar. We would ask, in the interests of personal safety that, all clients do not to approach animals that they do not know without the express permission of their owner.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the waiting room. The user name and password are displayed on posters in the waiting area. Magazines are provided to read whilst you wait. We would be grateful if you would return them to the stand once you have finished with them.

Home Visits

Where necessary we can arrange to visit your pet at home. This will incur an additional charge based on the time taken to travel to and from the property, the number of employees required to attend and the time of the visit. Whilst we can visit in an emergency, under these circumstances many pets benefit from being brought to the surgery where a fuller range of equipment is available to deal with the situation which has arisen.

Professional Fees and Charges

Consultation fees are based on 15 minute long appointments, with veterinary nurse consultations available for certain services such as clipping nails and routine anal gland expression. All fees, diets and drug charges are subject to VAT at the current rate. Fee levels are determined on the basis of the expertise required, the time spent working up a case together with the laboratory tests required, drugs, materials, consumables and diets used. If reports or referral letters are required a charge will be levied dependent on the time taken to formulate the necessary material. We are always happy to provide details of our fees on request and a detailed invoice will be provided for every consultation, procedure or transaction.

Estimates

We are happy, when requested, to provide an estimate for the probable costs of any treatment. Whilst we will always attempt to honour estimates, there are occasions where additional work may be required in the course of further investigation or treatment, as a pet’s illness does not always follow an expected course. It is essential clients ensure that their contact details are up-to-date and that they are readily contactable whilst their pet is with us as an in-patient so that, should any significant alteration to the planned procedure prove necessary, this can be discussed, where possible, prior to any work being undertaken. By signing the practice consent forms in relation to those animals undergoing in-patient procedures, services or operations it is deemed that consent has been given for administration of immediate treatment to prevent pain or suffering should the need arise where a client is not contactable.

Methods of Payment

Payment is expected for all services, drugs, diets or other supplies at the time the work is carried out. For diets or drugs ordered specially for a client at their request, and where the practice is unable to return the goods to the supplier, payment may be requested at the time the order is placed by the client. Any outstanding accounts are due for settlement at the end of the consultation, the discharge of your pet or on collection of prescriptions or other supplies. Accounts can be settled using cash or valid debit or credit cards with the exception of American Express. Unfortunately we are unable to accept cheques.

Settlement terms

If the account remains outstanding after 7 days, a reminder will be sent. After due notice overdue accounts will be referred to our debt collecting agency or the County Court and further charges will be levied in respect of costs incurred in collecting the debt, such as production of reports, correspondence and court fees etc. Any cheque returned by our bank as unpaid, any credit card payment not honoured and any cash tendered that is found to be counterfeit will result in the original account being restored to the original sum with further charges being added in respect of bank charges and administrative costs together with interest on the principal sum.

Inability to Pay

It is essential that if, for any reason, the account cannot be settled as described in the settlement terms above, the matter is discussed with a partner in advance of treatment being administered. Please note that instalments or part payments of any account may only be sanctioned by a partner and only in exceptional circumstances.

Pet Health Insurance

Pet health insurance against illness or injury can help alleviate the worry of meeting vet bills, particularly when referral to a specialist becomes necessary. It is advisable to consider the type and level of cover required as there are multiple formulations of benefits available.

As insurance policies are a contract between you and your chosen provider, for most claims accounts should be settled in full with the practice and then reclaimed by you from your insurance company. If your insurance company requires the practice’s input to complete the insurance claim form a fee, based on the time taken to complete each claim, will be charged for this service. If a further claim is required at a later date an additional charge will be payable for completion of any additional required paperwork. Continuation claims are charged at a lower fee as they tend to be less complex to complete and therefore require less administrative time.

Whilst many insurance companies offer a direct claim facility we are currently only able to facilitate this in exceptional circumstances, for example where a large bill has arisen due to investigation of a complex case or where an emergency procedure has been required. Under these circumstances we will need you to:

  • Contact your insurance company to give us permission to speak to them about your policy in order to ascertain if a direct claim is appropriate
  • Have read through your insurance policy details and in order to confirm that your policy details are correct
  • Complete and sign a form accepting liability for non-payment from the insurance company and agreeing that should the insurance company not reimburse the practice within 60 days of the initial claim being submitted you will settle the account
  • Make payment of any policy excess together with the insurance claim completion fee

In non-emergency circumstances pre-authorisation will be required from the insurance company where time permits. This can take up to 7 days to obtain.

Authorisation for direct claims must be arranged in advance of the procedure being performed, and if agreed by the practice, claim forms must be submitted for completion at the time the work is carried out. As direct claims require considerable administrative effort and can result in a delay in payment to the business of several weeks, a charge will be levied for this service. If, after the initial claim has been made, you wish us to continue to make direct claims for an on-going condition, claim forms must be submitted at each visit and these will carry an additional fee for completion on each occasion.

Ownership of Records

The care given to your animal may involve making some specific investigations, for example taking radiographs or performing ultrasound scans. Even though we make a charge for carrying out these investigations and interpreting their results, ownership of the resulting record, for example a radiograph, remains with the practice and will be retained by us. Case history records, radiographs and similar documents are the property of, and will be retained by us. Copies with a clinical history will be passed, on request, to another veterinary surgeon taking over the case.

Complaints and Standards

At Cockburn Veterinary Group we are committed to providing a high quality veterinary service to all our clients. However, if you do not feel that this has been provided to you and your pet, then we need you to tell us about it as soon as possible to allow us to resolve the issue.

If you have a complaint, please inform us, in writing, of the incident, with as much detail as possible, including any names of staff members involved. Please address your complaint to:

Mrs Diane Storer BVM&S CertVBM CertAVP MRCVS, Cockburn Veterinary Group, 100 London Road, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3JD.

We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint either by telephone call or in writing within five working days of receiving it. As part of the investigatory process we may contact you for further details of the incident so that we can better understand what happened. We will also normally check your clinical records and speak to any members of staff involved.

If the matter is unable to be resolved following a telephone conversation; or where this means of communication is deemed inappropriate; or if circumstances dictate to the contrary, Mrs Storer will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her suggestions for resolving the matter, within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.

We will inform you on receipt of the complaint if either Mrs Storer or the employee(s) involved in the complaint are on holiday or sick leave at that time as this may inevitably introduce a delay in resolving the issue.

If you feel that the matter remains unresolved, then you can contact the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons by writing to:

Professional Conduct Departments, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF

Prescriptions

Animals with ongoing illnesses need to be reassessed at regular intervals by a veterinary surgeon to ensure that both the best results are achieved for the patient and compliance with the relevant veterinary medicines legislation is achieved. The interval between re-examination appointments will vary dependent on the condition, the stage of the disease, together with any specific requirements set out by manufacturers for monitoring certain medications. It is practice policy that these animals are clinically examined by a veterinary surgeon at least every 6 months, however for some conditions a shorter interval may be deemed more appropriate by the prescribing veterinary surgeon. All repeat prescription including written prescriptions will be issued for a maximum of 1 month’s supply at each request unless agreed with a veterinary surgeon based on their knowledge and clinical judgment of the individual case.

When requesting a repeat prescription of a drug for your pet, please provide us with an update on their condition. Please also give 24 hours’ notice to allow a veterinary surgeon to check your pet’s records and in light of the information that you have provided on your pet’s health, to ensure that prescribing the medication remains appropriate. We would also ask that an up-to-date mobile telephone number is provided, if possible, so that we can text to tell you that the medication is ready for collection.

Written prescriptions for veterinary medicines are available upon request. These can only be authorised by our veterinary surgeons and are restricted to animals under their care. This service carries a fee which covers the professional time taken for your vet to authorise the requested medication, provide dosage advice and maintain the required medical records for your pet.

Return of unused drugs
Whilst we are happy to accept unused medications back into the practice for disposal, unfortunately we are unable to refund any payment made as, because they have left the practice, we are unable to resell them.

Variations in Terms of Business

No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the practice unless it is specifically agreed in writing and signed by the practice owner. Additionally, no agent or person employed by, or under contract with the practice has the authority to alter or vary these terms and conditions in any way.

January 2017.