March 1st 2021

How Can I Trust a Consultation If I Cannot Attend?

At the VCMS we have recently been receiving reports from both practices and owners as to an increase in worry around consultations where the owner cannot be present. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, practices across the UK have adapted their ways of working based on guidance and guidelines from the RCVS (and other regional governing bodies).

As part of this new way of working, one of the biggest differences that you will notice is that you, as the owner, may not be present during the examination of your animal. Designed to limit human-to-human contact, practices across the country are asking pet owners to not enter the building. 

Visiting the vets can be a stressful experience for pets and try to remember that your vet has your pets interests at heart.

For professionals, building processes and procedures that staff can understand and follow can make clients feel more at ease and lead to a more fluid way of operating. Having an FAQs section on your website, sending instructions to owners when confirming appointments and reiterating these new processes when speaking to clients on the telephone all help. 

Likewise, as a professional you may need to explain things in greater detail to your clients. For example, if you are unable to examine an animal for any reason. Many clients have reported that they feel comforted when professionals explain what they do when they take the animal away for examination. 

As a member of the public, bear in mind that examinations and the service you receive will generally take longer than what you may be accustomed to. Whilst this is frustrating for all, we urge patience from the public. 

Whilst this is never easy for all involved, one thing to bear in mind when taking your animal to the vet is that this measure is in place to protect all involved. Understanding that the decision was not taken lightly and is not ideal for all involved may help you as an owner to move trust your veterinary professional. 

And understanding is at the heart of the issue and can help to build trust and confidence between professional and client. Without doubt, the majority of vets that we have spoken to do not enjoy this new way of working, but they understand the need to maintain social distancing and operate during the pandemic.

Trust can be built on an open way of communicating to ensure that, as a professional, you provide details of how what will be conducted in the consultation and taking time to explain the situation to the owner can further build trust. As we have often suggested, communication is a two-way exchange that can help build understanding for all parties involved. As an owner, asking questions to your vet, discussing your concerns and worries and having faith in their professionalism all can help to allay your fears. 

Trust is a central part in all relationships and none more so than in the examination of your animal. Whilst you as the owner, may not be physically present, it is important to understand that the vets do have your pets’ best interests in heart and are working under extremely difficult circumstances. Entering a dialogue with your vet, understanding their situation and remembering their commitment to your pet and their wellbeing can all help to increase trust.

The VCMS would like to thank both the industry and the public for their understanding during these difficult times. Should you have any questions or wish to speak to a member of our teams, contact the VCMS via 0345 040 5834 or email enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk

Written By Jennie Jones Head of VCMS
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