With practices in Rhiwbina, Heath, Danescourt and Cyncoed, Heath Vets are putting pets and their owners at the heart of their pandemic plans
In their esteemed 94 year history, Heath Vets have successfully overcome the challenges of world events to continue their care of our pets. Yet the current pandemic has called for a new way of thinking and Heath Vets were quick to adapt to the new situation.
“During the national lockdown in the Spring, we stopped all clients entering the building,” says Clinical Director Jess Ellis. “We only saw essential and emergency cases. Pets ailments were discussed outside our surgery but fortunately, we had good weather. If that wasn’t possible, we’d discuss the ailments over the phone.
“For pets that needed to be seen, clients waited outside while we took the pets inside to examine and treat them. These changes, although more time consuming and involved more man power, enabled us to continue providing care to those that needed it. Fortunately, we have now been able to let clients in, under strict conditions, so although things aren’t normal, they are a little more so!”
Like most businesses, staffing levels were immediately affected by the new rules.
“When the national lockdown was first announced, we closed our three smaller branches. Staffing levels were reduced and about half of our team were furloughed for quite a few months. We have been incredibly lucky in that our team has remained fit and well throughout but it’s been very hectic running at reduced staff capacity – we have been very busy as a result!” adds Jess. “The team has coped fantastically well considering.”
Clients can expect the same high level of care and attention from Heath Vets, even if the process is now a little different.
“If a pet needs to be seen, clients can call any of our branches. However phones have been busy, so if it’s not an urgent call, an appointment can be requested online via our website. We are hoping to offer online bookings very soon, so that clients can book appointments at their leisure and at a time that suits them – with the added bonus that it will hopefully free up our phone lines a little!
“We only allow one person in with a pet and we have a time limit in the consulting room with the vet. Safety rules also have to be adhered to. We do this to keep both our team and our clients as safe as we can.”
Throughout the Winter, Heath Vets will continue to operate within the guidelines to ensure safety.
“We envisage limited access into the building during the Winter, allowing clients in only when asked and numbers permit. During times of firebreak and local lockdown, we will have to reduce our services to essential care, and additional restrictions for clients may be in place, but where possible, we want to offer as normal a service as we can to our patients. We will do this while keeping both us and our clients as safe as possible.
“Obviously for our clients waiting outside, we encourage everyone to be on time to reduce any waiting. If they have a car, this makes any wait more enjoyable as they are sheltered from the weather!”
The experience, whilst challenging, has brought the Heath Vets team together.
“There’s no doubt as a team we have been through some stressful times together these last months but I think we have all tried our best to support one another.”
The pandemic has changed the world. It’s changed the way we do things and it’s changed the way that businesses have been able to provide their services too.
“Most pet insurance companies are being very supportive during these difficult times by being flexible on policy conditions, in particular the requirement for pets to have up to date vaccinations and regular dental and health checks.”
Looking ahead, Heath Vets are taking a realistic but positive approach to the Winter months ahead.
“We’d ask our clients to be understanding and patient. Practices are busy and are still playing catch up from the restrictions that were placed on us earlier in the year; there may be a bit more of a wait for routine appointments,” says Jess.
“We’d also like our clients to understand that we have to adhere to strict guidelines by law; our staff can feel under a lot of stress at times, but we are doing our very best. Be kind and we can all get through this together.”
02920 621 511
123-5 Heol-y-Deri, Rhiwbina,
Cardiff CF14 6UH