April 1st 2021

From a Complaint to the Improvement of Communication

At the VCMS we seek to help all parties involved in a dispute to move forward to resolution. In one of our latest case studies, we explore how the VCMS assisted a practice to improve its communication.

Often, a complaint can mask or hide issues that, at first glance, may be overlooked and have led to the complaint being raised. In this incidence, our assistance helped the practice to reflect on its service and build a way forward in the future to avoid similar complaints. 

The Complaint 

The pet in question, a dog, was admitted to the practice for a mammary lump removal but when preparing for surgery the vets noticed the lower abdominal area was enlarged. The area was scanned, and it was discovered that the animal had a pyometra and decided that to prioritise this finding. 

The client, naturally, had many questions, being confused as to their dog being admitted for one thing but having something completely different done. At discharge, they tried to ask the vet questions relating to the decision, who said they did not have the time to respond. Losing trust in the practice, they turned to the VCMS for assistance and help in understanding what had happened.

What the Client Wanted When They Came to the VCMS

  • Answers to why the pyo hadn’t been picked up at the vaccine appointment when they discussed the mammary lump removal.
  • Answers to why the clip patch she had was nowhere near the lumps, she had felt they had made a mistake and possibly got the wrong dog
  • Answers to why they didn’t go ahead with the mammary removal or take any biopsies; and
  • Initially seeking a goodwill gesture

How Mediation Helped Find a Resolution

Our team was able to gain answers to all of the client’s questions from the vet and guide them through each step of what had happened and why each decision was made. 

Feeding this information back to the practice, they reflected on the information and how earlier communication would have resolved things much quicker without a complaint potentially being raised. Changing their processes, they will be able to apply this insight in the future to hopefully avoid escalation in similar situations should they present themselves. 

The client was happy with the explanation given that provided them with clarity, and expressed that if the vet had taken the time to speak with them before they wouldn’t have needed the VCMS service. The client was thankful for our team for being able to achieve the outcome for them. 

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) – mediation in particular – can be the vehicle, not only for resolution, but also for institutional change and growth that helps to improve the workings of practices. 

For more information on how we may be able to assist, contact our team on 0345 040 5834 or via enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk

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