What we do

The Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS)

We will assist with complaints about the animal care or customer service you have received which have been raised with the veterinary practice but remain unresolved.

We can be contacted quickly and easily by completing our online form.

All veterinary practices should have their own internal complaints procedure to deal with any complaints raised by animal owners. Most issues are resolved informally within the practice.

However we recognise that some complaints can escalate resulting in strong emotions where the owner and the practice are no longer able to communicate effectively, or when an owner feels dissatisfied with the response from the practice.

The VCMS can mediate complaints concerning the customer service, or the standard of care provided by a veterinary practice. For full details please see our Guide for Animal Owners.

We will listen attentively and ask questions in order to understand what has happened. We will then contact both parties to obtain all the information concerning the complaint. We will review the complaint thoroughly and advise you as soon as possible if it falls within our remit. If the complaint is outside of our remit, we will refer you to the relevant organisation who will be able to assist you.

During the mediation process, we will help both parties to appreciate the rights and obligations under relevant consumer legislation such as Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the relevant professional code of conduct.

Once we understand what has happened, we will contact both parties to mediate possible solutions to resolve the complaint, help to implement those solutions and bring the complaint to a conclusion.

Mediation is a process of alternative dispute resolution which facilitates communication between the parties involved, diffuses emotion and assists in reaching a practical resolution together that they can both accept to move on.

what is mediation?

It is a process for resolution entered voluntarily by both parties rather than a process imposed under an arbitration or adjudication which can be expensive and ineffective.

Mediation gives each party the opportunity to share their concerns, feelings and needs in a safe environment. The Resolution Manager will listen and acknowledge what each party says and ask questions to explore and clarify the concerns in more depth so they have a clear picture of what has happened. The mediator understands how difficult it is for each party to communicate when it is an emotional time and events have left both parties upset.

The mediation approach provides a cost-effective opportunity to resolve complaints quickly, fairly and effectively.

The Resolution Manager avoids taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply there to develop effective communication and build consensus between parties.

If both parties cannot reach an agreement, they can still pursue legal proceedings. However, details about what went on during the mediation will not be disclosed at a civil court hearing.

The VCMS may be asked to share information with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons if professional conduct investigations are to be undertaken in their role as regulator.

For more information about how the VCMS can help, please download our ‘How We Can Help’ guide.

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Independent mediation for veterinary professionals and their clients