We really want to provide the same levels of service we always have, but we are aware that this is not always possible, in particular with difficulty booking appointments and longer waiting times. We do understand that this can be very frustrating and annoying.
To help you understand why, here is what is going on behind the scenes:
We have remained open throughout the pandemic (not all practices have been able to do so) despite often being very short-staffed due to Covid cases, self-isolating and by chance, more maternity leaves than usual.
Could we recruit more people to alleviate the problem?
Extremely difficult – there is a severe Nationwide shortage of Vets and Nurses, not to mention massive red-tape involved!
Why are we Slower?
Consulting with clients staying outside is very much slower, meaning we can fit fewer appointments into the day, resulting in appointment shortages. Staff shortages exacerbate this. To minimise the reduction in daily appointments we are now consulting much longer, often from 8.30 to 1pm, then doing surgeries, then consulting again until as late as 7.30pm some days. Many staff are here the entire time working flat out with shorter breaks.
Why are we still asking clients not to come into consult rooms?
To minimise the chance of being in contact with anyone who later tests positive for COVID – under current government rules if that happened the entire staff would have to self-isolate and therefore the practice would have to close completely for a minimum of 10 days. Although some of us would appreciate the break to re-charge from burnout, that would really be no good for our patients and put an even greater strain on other practices and the emergency vets.
Many practices are, like us, not accepting new clients as they are facing the same challenges.
Other factors: There has been a huge boom in new pet ownership during the lockdown creating increased demand for Veterinary services.
This scenario is not unique to us – it is widespread problem throughout the country – this is apparent if you look at some other practices’ websites or FB pages.
Our staff are feeling severely pressured by the massive extra workload, the reduced number of staff, the dissatisfaction that we can’t be as efficient as usual and the increasing number of complaints from frustrated clients. There is massive BURNOUT! We are in danger of losing more staff because of this!
We are lucky that the vast majority of our clients are extremely patient and good-natured and we are grateful for that.
We are doing our best, please bear with us.