In simple terms, because we care. The reason we are here is because your pet is the single most important thing to us. Our philosophy is to treat your pet in the same way that we would wish our own pets to be treated.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which is the governing body for the veterinary profession, advises that clients have the right to ask their vet for referral at any stage of treatment. They state that ideally your vet should refer to a centre that employs recognised specialists in the relevant field. If your vet has advised referral to a different referral centre and this either involves a long journey or would result in your pet being treated by a less experienced clinician with poorer facilities, ask them why they recommended the centre they did. In some cases this will be because the practice is a member of a corporate group and there is a financial vested interest in referring to a practice within the same group. If for whatever reason you would prefer your pet to be seen at Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists then ultimately you have the right to make that choice.
Our relationship with first opinion veterinary surgeons is similar to that of a consultant doctor's relationship to your general practitioner. We work with your veterinary surgeon to provide the very best care for your pet where there is a need for specialist knowledge, experience or equipment. Our clinicians undergo many years of training and take formal postgraduate qualifications to become recognised specialists in their fields. We have specialists in the disciplines of surgery (soft tissue, orthopaedics and neurosurgery), cardiology, diagnostic imaging, neurology, internal medicine and dermatology.
We have the most advanced facilities that you will not find in any first opinion practice including three state-of-the-art operating theatres, a CT scanner and an MRI scanner as well as a wide array of other diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. We regularly perform advanced procedures such as hip replacement, pacemaker implantation and spinal disc replacement. We also offer a unique surgical guarantee for some of our surgical procedures (tibial plateau levelling osteotomy - TPLO, and total hip replacement - THR) so that in the unlikely event that there is a postoperative complication we undertake to provide all treatment for the complication free of charge.
If your pet needs to stay with us we have separate air conditioned dog and cat wards that are staffed around the clock by a dedicated team of qualified veterinary nurses and interns. Our interns are junior vets who have often been in practice for one to two years and are gaining further experience with a view to becoming specialists themselves at some time in the future. There is usually at least one intern and one nurse looking after your pet throughout the night and they are backed up by specialist clinicians who are on-call 24 hours a day.
Insurance claims and pricing policy
We understand that it is a stressful time for you when your pet is ill and we aim to make the referral process as smooth as possible. We do not normally ask for a deposit before proceeding with treatment and if your pet is insured we are happy to arrange for your insurance company to pay us directly so that all you need to pay us is the excess on your policy (if you have not already paid this to your veterinary surgeon).
We offer a fixed price for some procedures (TPLO's, spinal surgery and joint replacements) which include free follow up consultations and radiographs so that you are not exposed to any hidden charges. We are transparent with our prices (we were the first referral centre in the UK to publish a price list on our website) and will always strive to achieve the best possible treatment and outcome for the patient while not exceeding the client's ability to pay.
What is a Veterinary Specialist?
All veterinary surgeons undergo a broad based training in veterinary medicine and surgery for a minimum of 5 years before qualifying. Recognised specialist veterinary surgeons must undergo extensive additional training for a minimum of 4 years and pass rigorous Diploma examinations before they can become specialists. Veterinary specialists work in much the same way as specialists or consultants in human medicine and only accept cases that are referred to them by general practitioners. Unfortunately, in the UK the title of specialist is not protected and any veterinary surgeon can claim expertise in a particular field, advertise that they accept referrals and even call themselves a specialist.
In the UK the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), which is the governing body for the veterinary profession, has laid down strict criteria concerning training and experience required to gain "recognised" specialist status. Recognised specialists must have appropriate postgraduate qualifications and demonstrate that they are actively involved with their discipline and up to date with recent advances. RCVS specialist status must be re-accredited every 5 years and is not easily achieved. To view the veterinary qualifications needed to be included on the list of recognised specialists visit the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website.
At SCVS, all our clinicians have undergone extensive postgraduate training and are either recognised RCVS/European/American specialists or are in the process of obtaining advanced qualifications that will lead to specialist status in the future. Recognised specialists have much greater knowledge, experience and expertise in their discipline than general practitioners, Certificate holders or advanced practitioners. In addition, clinicians working in referral centres have access to specialised diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and facilities that are not available in general practice. As one of the few truly multidisciplinary referral centres in the UK our patients benefit from the wide spectrum of expertise offered by our team of specialists in different disciplines all under one roof.
www.rcvs.org.uk - This website provides information on specialist quaifications and how to find a specialists. This page also gives information on seeking a second opinion, or seeking a referral to a specialist.
www.ebvs.org - This website links to all the European Specialist Colleges and also list all the specialists in all the disciplines througout Europe. You can click on the links to the Specialist Colleges to find out more abouth what training European Specialists have to do to gain their diploma.