The UK’s major veterinary groups, along with the RSPCA, PDSA and Blue Cross, have agreed to support each other and independent practices in providing veterinary care where there are practice closures.
CVS, Goddard Veterinary Group, IVC Evidensia, Linnaeus, Medivet, Vets Now, VetPartners and Vets4Pets will join forces to handle the challenge of caring for animals during the UK lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Among the key measures agreed by veterinary group and charity senior leaders:
- All members of the Major Employers Group (MEG), comprised of senior clinical leaders from larger companies and groups, will co-operate to fulfil their duty to provide 24-hour emergency first aid and pain relief to animals.
- As far as is possible, no animal should be denied its basic right to emergency first aid and pain relief, regardless of which practice it is registered at.
- In some circumstances, this may mean diverting clients to other practices able to provide services, who will attend those clients and provide appropriate treatment.
- Major employers will, where necessary, pool their resources to enable continued supply of veterinary services. This should include independent practices in the locality who wish to participate.
- Major employers will encourage local discussions to take place to establish continuity of veterinary service provision.
- All members will commit to the safety of their teams and clients.
Veterinary group leaders hope it will avoid major disruption to emergency provision if practices have to close branches in high-risk areas or there is a shortage of team members if they become ill, have to self-isolate or socially distance themselves.
It means pet owners, farmers and horse owners can still access 24-hour veterinary care.
From the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, the veterinary groups and charities have been assessing and managing the potential impact of the pandemic and reacting to the steps put in place by the government and relevant authorities to deal with it.
Groups have been in regular communication about contingency plans being put in place to mitigate risks to animal welfare if practices are not able to open.