September 1st 2021

Not Just Refunds…

The VCMS deals with a range of complaints that cover a wide spectrum of subjects. Often, the resolution between practice and client focuses on greater communication and understanding more so than a refund or financial reimbursement.

In today’s blog we explore how our neutral and independent service is not just about refunds and look into the scope of mutually acceptable outcomes we often achieve for those who use our service.

We see the scenarios where conflicts and disputes arise and escalate. We are also privileged to see the hard work and commitment across the optical sector in striving to support clients whilst also managing individual and practice challenges and concerns.

It can be difficult, as a client, to visit your vet when your animal or pet needs care. It is worth noting that your vet has your animal’s best interests in mind and will seek to do what is right in order to provide the appropriate care. Naturally, complaints can and do arise and the VCMS can step in to assist in finding an outcome that is satisfactory for both parties.

Engagement and De-Escalation

During the course of the last year, there has been more focus placed on the preliminary stages of the VCMS mediation process. This includes the complaint referrals where the VCMS resolves the complaint through advice or uses mediation techniques to de-escalate the complaint and support local resolution within the practice.

By doing this, it is possible to resolve complaints prior to engaging in the formal mediation process. This has provided parties with swifter resolutions, which has been beneficial for all involved. This is also indicative of earlier escalation where clients may not have been able to discuss their complaint with the practice in the usual way (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), and therefore sought external input at any earlier stage.

Resolutions More So Than Refunds

Indeed, from VCMS data generally, one quarter of complaints are resolved through a refund. Often, a goodwill gesture, an explanation or simply both parties reengaging can lead to resolution.

Mediation, unlike litigation, also provides a workable framework to allow practices to improve their process and learn from what happened to avoid similar complaints going forward. It is the malleable nature of mediation, not just focusing on refunds, that allows the VCMS to support practices and clients to find beneficial solutions.

For more information on our mediation services and to speak to our team, contact the VCMS on 0345 040 5834 or via

April 20th 2022

Vets Are Human Too

It is the human condition to be fallible sometimes. This includes pet owners, their veterinary surgeons and mediators. Fallibility takes many forms, but a key cause is communication and, more importantly, miscommunication.
April 14th 2022

The Importance of Helping a Client to Feel Heard and Valued

As part of our mediation service, the VCMS assist both the public and the veterinary profession in finding mutually beneficial outcomes to complaints.
March 1st 2022

Returning to Work and Your Dog

With restrictions easing across the UK and many returning to full time work, the RSPCA has warned about dogs being abandoned as owners struggle with returning to work and the cost of living rises.