Group model ‘has long-term implications for profession’ - Veterinary Practice
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Group model ‘has long-term implications for profession’

Veterinary Practice talks to Medivet about its development and its vision for the future

OVER the past 25 years, the Medivet
partnership has developed a small
animal health-care delivery system
which it believes has long-term
implications for the veterinary
profession as a whole.

While many businesses are finding
the current economic
climate tough, Medivet
has reduced its average charge per case by
17% and seen a 30%
increase in case load
over the last 12


In 1990, the late Asher
Teper of Hendon joined John
Gladstone, Richard Leonard, Arnold
Levy and David Fluss (now retired) of
Watford to create the Medivet
Veterinary Partnership. Medivet now has
over 70 partner practices, 40% of which
are wholly owned by the group, with the
remaining 60% being joint ventures, and
is continuing to grow.

Arnold Levy, one of Medivet’s
managing partners, states, “We now
have 14 central partners and 39 branch
partners amongst a team of 158
veterinary surgeons and over 300
support staff, including qualified, trainee
and newly enrolled veterinary nurses
and receptionists. The Medivet
Partnership is owned and managed
entirely by practising vets who place
clinical excellence and ethical conduct
high on their agenda.”

The Medivet approach to
partnership is unusual. Mr Levy continues: “On the ground each
partnered practice has in effect two
partners: the clinical partner (the
practising vet) and a managing partner
(Medivet). All costs and profits are
shared equally which guarantees both
parties’ interest in ensuring the success of the branch.”

Being part of a large group has distinct
advantages, as Mr Levy
explains: “Medivet is
able to negotiate
substantial discounts
from suppliers, which
are passed on to all our
partners. It also gives us the chance to invest in
and access the very latest technology.

For example, we work with a company
offering a mobile MRI scanning service.
We also help our partners in other ways
by providing administrative and training
services at our central support centre in

Marketing director Erwin Hohn is
keen to emphasise Medivet’s non-
corporate approach. “Our overall
branding gives us a market presence and
our infrastructure does offer our
partners a lot of support, but each
branch is essentially a High Street vet

Mr Hohn says the approach could
provide the profession as a whole with a
model for long-term sustainability that
might otherwise be hampered by
increasing costs of capital-intensive

“Our model mirrors successful and
efficient health-care delivery systems
within human medicine and it is this
that makes us unique in animal health-
care. One of the cornerstones of our
business model is our 24-hour centres
which provide high-tech support for a
number of satellite clinics and

It was while studying for an MBA in
South Africa in the 1980s that Erwin
began to see a parallel between human
and animal primary health-care (PHC).
He witnessed how far evolving
technology, coupled with a clinical-curative approach,
can drive up the cost
of delivering a
cutting-edge service,
without improving
overall levels of

His solution was a
network of more
specialised clinics
serving a number of
peripheral clinics
rather than a number
of stand-alone
service providers (Diagram 1).

“The model works like a hub and
spoke,” he says. “We wanted to achieve
integration of services so that
accessibility was appropriate to the level
of operation. This meant that we could
reduce the amount of expensive
equipment at grass roots level but,
equally, we avoid spending time on
disease prevention and immunisation
when patients are being scanned.

“We also have an efficient referral of
cases both up and down the skills
pyramid (Diagram 2). It is nurses who
give health and dietary advice and the
more experienced clinicians who do
scans, for example.”

Financial viability is crucial to the
success of the hub-and-spoke model.
“We could only begin to build this
model once we had achieved a critical
mass. Our profitability lets us invest in
the very latest technologies, services and
facilities,” Mr Hohn adds.

Medivet now has six 24-hour centres
serving a total of 49 peripheral
veterinary practices. Mr Levy comments:
“To date, few practices in the UK offer
this level of integrated 24-hour care.”

Wellness programme

Following recent trends in human PHC,
Medivet has launched “The Wellness
Programme”, which aims to create a
better relationship between the vet and
the client, and to encourage clients to
take a more active part in the healthcare
of their pets. It is based on:

  • primary prevention, which includes
    health promotion and client education;
    and specific prevention, which involves
    activities like immunisation and parasite
    control; and,
  • secondary prevention, subdivided into
    early diagnosis, using the latest
    technology and specific and, above all,
    timely treatment, where disease is either
    cured or the sequelae limited to a

“The Wellness programme has seen
a huge leap in client receptivity to all
aspects of health promotion and has
increased client bonding, because trust has been built between the client and
each of the members of staff in a
practice,” says Mr Hohn. “It has also
made nurses and reception staff a more
integral part of the client relationship.
They have been trained to give advice
on worming, vaccination and insurance
and as a result feel more valued.”

The future

Erwin Hohn emphasises Medivet’s
ethical stance. “Everything we do is
about improving the longevity and
quality of life of our clients’ pets.
When this is combined with the
professional excellence and personal,
caring service that we pride ourselves
on, we see a bright future for Medivet.”

Arnold Levy concludes, “We work
hard to ensure that our levels of
practice match those prescribed by
leading academic institutions, as well as
those of the RCVS, but we are also
ambitious about setting new standards
in veterinary healthcare provision in the

  • Medivet’s branches are located in
    Bedfordshire, Berkshire,
    Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex,
    Greater London, Hertfordshire, Kent,
    Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and
    Surrey. The support office is in
    Watford, Herts. Details are on
    www.medivet.; for further
    information, e-mail

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