Every business needs Terms and Conditions for their services so that users of that business know what to expect. The following will hopefully cover this:
The Staff of SPA Veterinary Services Limited (“SPA Vets”) comprises qualified veterinary surgeons, qualified veterinary nurses, veterinary nursing assistants and other support staff. SPA Vets provides training opportunities for veterinary students registered at Veterinary Schools authorised by our regulatory authority, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and for student veterinary nurses. All staff are committed to the care of their patients and their owners and regularly undergo continuing professional development to enhance their skills. We occasionally allow young people to spend time with us on “Work Experience”.
We provide an extensive range of services and goods to Registered Pets (Appendix 1) of this Practice and for this we charge a fee and add VAT (where applicable) at the current rate. Routine fees are available on request and estimates can be provided where appropriate. Please remember that estimates are a guide to the price of treatment, investigation and surgery and may change upon the results of these investigations and surgery. Private prescriptions are available should owners wish to purchase medicines but these are chargeable and the fee varies with the number of items (Appendix 2). Reports, clinical notes, radiographs and other images resulting from examinations or procedures remain the property of SPA Vets. Copies may be made available for an appropriate fee.
Confidentiality We will keep all matters relating to owners and their pets confidential in accordance with Data Protection Legislation. We will only discuss a case
- with owners, their immediate family or agents once their identity has been confirmed;
- with another vet who is continuing the patient’s care (eg referral centre, emergency care, when moving Practices, whilst visiting out of the area);* our legal advisors, court and our governing body (RCVS);
- ï insurance companies as a result of a pet healthcare claim
- ï our Debt Collection service (DSL-see later)
The General Data Protection Regulations May 2018 require you to opt in to the various ways we may hold and use your data. Please see the separate Privacy Notices at the end of this document.
Requests for clinical notes relating to your animal(s) will be forwarded only to you (fee charged) or to those listed above.
Payment. We expect all consultations and treatments to be paid upon completion/collection from the surgery, including insurance claims*. This can be by cash or credit/debit card. For any procedure estimated at over £200 we may require 75% of the estimated fee to be paid upfront and all external agency fees (lab tests mainly) to be paid before submission. All surgical and hospitalised cases will require a signed consent form which authorises the fees shown in the estimate. If owners do not understand any of the information given at the time of consultation or admission then they should ask the relevant member of staff. We cannot offer credit but once you have provided proof of name and address eg current utility bill, bank statement or similar.
Should any fees remain unpaid after 7 days, an invoice will be sent with an additional accounting fee added for administrative costs. Currently this is £25+vat. A further reminder may be sent after another 7 days with a further additional accounting fee, and then the matter will be referred to debt collectors after a further 14 days with yet other administrative fees to cover reports, correspondence, court fees etc. Any Credit Card payment not honoured and any cash tendered that is found to be counterfeit will result in the original amount being restored to the original sum with further charges to cover bank charges. We urge anyone that has trouble paying on time to contact the surgery when they receive the first invoice so that we can discuss the way forward and try to prevent additional fees escalating.
Our current Debt Recovery service is provided by: Debt Solve UK Ltd (DSL), 2 The Court Yard, Bordesley Business Park, Dagnell End Road, Redditch, B98 8BH. 01527 543672.
For the purposes of this Document, an owner is the person or persons recorded as such on our system and signing this document and consent to treatment forms. This will be the person(s) responsible for the payment of fees.
Opening hours. Our normal opening hours are displayed at each surgery and on our website www.spavets.co.uk. To access the OOH service please ring our main number 01452 529480 and listen to the message. Callers will either speak to a vet or nurse directly or be asked to leave a message if they are busy with another case. OOH work attracts higher fees and these are payable at the time, even if covered by insurance. Approximate costs can be given at the time but expect a minimum callout and examination to cost at least £100.
Safety of our Staff is of paramount importance and we have a zero tolerance policy on verbal and physical abuse which may be reported to the police. Staff are required to work in such a manner as to ensure the safety of themselves and visitors to the Practice and when away from the Practice on work-related business. We insist all dogs to be restrained on a short lead and tight-enough collar by a responsible person who can control the dog. Suitably fitting muzzles may be required. All cats must be transported in a suitably strong escape-proof carrier to and from the Practice premises as we cannot guarantee their security or safety if loose.
Veterinary surgeons will make a decision on the suitability of the location for an animal’s examination taking into account their own safety first and then the likely needs of the animal (see Appendix 3).
PDSA registered animals. This Practice is please to support the work of the PDSA in providing financial assistance to certain clients. This is limited to one pet per household when the owner is in receipt of Housing and/or Council Tax benefit. Out of normal hours treatment and specialist referral work is NOT covered by the PDSA. Owners may wish to consider other sources of help such as Pet Insurance. Also, only Prescription Only Medicines are covered under the Scheme so buster collars, neutraceuticals, shampoos for example are not covered.
Pet Insurance This Practice recommends pet insurance but we cannot advise on specific policies. Please remember that you remain responsible for all fees until paid in full as your contract for provision of services is with us, not between the Insurance Company and us. Please see Appendix 4 for further details.
Complaints Procedure. We hope owners will never have the cause to complain about our services but we would welcome early notification of dissatisfaction so that we can discuss the problem. In most situations we will ask owners to put specific complaints in writing to the Directors so that we have a written record of the areas to investigate. We will then discuss the issues with the appropriate person/people before responding in writing.
No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the Practice unless it is specifically agreed in writing and signed by one of the Directors. No agent or person employed by, or under contract with, the Company has the authority to alter or vary these conditions in any way.
Appendix 1 Registered clients
We provide veterinary services to registered clients only. A registered client is one that has contacted the Practice in advance of needing to use our services unless registered with one of our OOH service partners or are visiting the area. Registration means we have recorded the client’s details (name, address, telephone numbers, email).
A Registered Pet is one where a registered client has contacted the Practice in advance of needing to use our services and we will waive the registration fee. The pet’s details will be recorded for future use.
Pets registered elsewhere locally or unregistered pets requiring our services when they cannot be seen by their registered vet practice will need to be registered first carrying a registration fee of £25 + VAT. This does not apply to a pet requiring immediate attention out of hours and/or registered with one of our OOH service partners or if visiting the area.
Appendix 2 Private Prescriptions and Repeat Prescriptions.
These are available on request but will only be provided once an examination(s) has been performed and the decision made to use a prescription only drug. Check-ups will need to be made on a regular basis depending on the condition, the patient’s response and the nature of the drug. This may be monthly, quarterly, six-monthly or annually. A fee is charged for each private prescription.
We understand that internet prices are often cheaper than our own but please consider that we only supply prescription medicines carrying a full product licence. Importation of prescription only drugs is illegal and carries the risk that it is not a bona fide product ie you cannot know that the drug you have been supplied with has been fully tested and regulated by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. Finally, we are not able to include the cost of outsourced medicines on insurance claims because we cannot ascertain the veracity of the receipt or know that it has been supplied.
Appendix 3 Patient Examination
Examination of an animal is almost always best performed at the Practice. We have trained support staff, equipment, drugs, test facilities and hospitalisation facilities none of which are available on a house visit. Requests for a house visit will be considered individually taking into account the speed of response (it is often quicker to get a friend or taxi/animal ambulance service to bring owners in with their pet), the likely problem (need for tests, specific drugs only available at the surgery, the need for hospitalisation) and the safety of personnel attending. Pain relief (analgesia) is best given with Practice-based drugs and even if a pet is in a lot of pain it is better to transport the pet quickly on a blanket as a stretcher rather than wait for a vet who will just as likely advise the same once the pet is examined. Analgesics carried on visits are not as powerful as those at the Practice and we feel that a pet is best served by rapid, careful transport to the surgery with all its facilities.
Practice-based examinations are best carried out in one of the consulting rooms where it is quiet, lit, secure and private. Please do not ask us to examine any pet in the car park. It is insecure, noisy, public and potentially dangerous as dogs often guard there owner’s possessions ie the car.
Appendix 4 Pet Insurance
We highly recommend pet insurance and can advise on general principles of pet insurance but not specific policies. We have no knowledge of specific terms and conditions of owners’ preferred insurance policy and clients must be aware and understand these before agreeing to procedures that will be part of a claim. We cannot provide advice or guidance on these matters which is why we insist on payment on collection* of your pet. Direct claims with an insurer can be made only after with an agreement with a Director in advance. This would usually require a pre-authorisation form to be completed and submitted before treatment is commenced. A copy of a valid, current insurance certificate will need to be provided, along with a signed insurance claim form. The excess must be paid on collection of the pet. See separate leaflet on Insured Pets.
Provision of the above does not guarantee payment by the insurer and it is the owner’s responsibility to check they are covered. The owner will remain responsible for the fees until they are paid in full.