June 26th 2019

How Do We Make Care Better?

What does care mean? How, as veterinary professionals, can we make care better? 

When a complaint arrives at the VCMS and mediation begins, it is not only the opportunity to find resolution for both the practice and the client, but also to provide a way to improve services offered. Veterinary practices may be focused on the clinical care provided. From an owner’s perspective, the service and the manner in which care is provided is also crucial to their trust and confidence in the practice. 

It can be said that a clinic is only as good as its staff and, within that, the procedures, processes and cultures that surround the working ethos and culture. 

Now, it goes without saying that all practices aim to provide the very highest of service to their clients and that the wellbeing of the animals within their care is of the highest importance. Part of the experience from an owner’s perspective is not just the clinical expertise that they receive but also the care and attention that they receive from the staff.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons outlines five principles of practice that help professionals ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to their care and to fulfil their professional responsibilities. 

  • Professional competence;
  • Honesty and integrity;
  • Independence and impartiality;
  • Client confidentiality and trust;
  • Professional accountability.

Within the five principles we can see that it is not just professional competency that is important but the need to provide a service to the client that goes beyond just diagnostic or clinical ability. 

At the VCMS we cannot provide clinical advice to professionals but we can use our expertise and experience within dispute management to help professionals to avoid complaints and to deal with them as per best practice and to provide better care. 

Our mediation advice aligns with the RCVS’ principles of practice and can assist professionals in improving the care that they offer. At its heart, care is a very human matter that relies on a relationship between the parties involved. Our three principles of care take the approach to build a relationship with the client that goes beyond just clinical expertise. We believe that care can be based on the following: 

  • Empathy – understanding that the situation will be stressful for the owner and putting yourself ‘in their shoes’ allows for you as a professional to develop a relationship that can assist them in what can be a difficult time.
  • Communication – clear communication and managing of exceptions allows the professional and the client to fully understand each other and, where necessary, for important questions to be raised and discussed. 
  • Honesty – honesty forms the backbone to a worthwhile, professional relationship with a client and honesty and precise diagnosis and advice is in the best interests of all parties. 

Better care can often be linked to the handling of a client with or without a complaint involved. Better care, as suggested by our three principals, can help the clinic and the client to develop a relation of support and trust and in turn, improve the offerings of the clinic. 

For more information on our mediation services, contact our teams directly via 0345 040 5834 or enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk.

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