Terms and Conditions- Small Animal Patients
Thank you for entrusting the care of your pet to St James’ Veterinary Group. This document details the terms and conditions of the Practice. Should you require clarification on any aspect then please feel free to contact us.
All consultations are by appointment only. Please contact the branch of your choice to book an appropriate consultation time.
All operations are booked in advance where possible. Operations are carried out at all branches (with the exception of our Walter Road branch) although the more complicated procedures are usually performed at our main Hospital due to the medical and surgical facilities and overnight hospitalisation facilities available. It is your responsibility to transport your pet between branches.
St James Veterinary Group is proud to be one of the few remaining practices in the area to still offer it’s own out of hours cover and provide a 24-hour emergency service to our clients. This is performed by our own staff (nurses and veterinary staff) from our own premises. Should you require the emergency service please contact the main branch to discuss your requirements. (Telephone 01792 205000). Please note there is an extra charge for this service in addition to our standard consultation fees. This is in line with other emergency service providers in the area.
At the Hospital facility two members of the nursing team are on site throughout the night to personally care for your pet. Your pet will be checked at least every two hours and more often if necessary. A Veterinary Surgeon is available on call to attend the Practice should the nurse have any cause for concern and in addition the vet will check your pet in the early evening (6pm-8pm), again before bedtime (10pm-12am) and as often as necessary throughout the night. There is a second additional Veterinary Surgeon on call as well should they be required to assist with your pet or other emergencies.
Any medications required will be given whenever needed, so optimising your pet’s treatment/recovery and ensuring they are kept comfortable throughout the night. We will endeavour to keep you updated of your pet’s condition on a daily basis and as soon as possible should a significant or unexpected deterioration occur.
We generally recommend your pet is brought to the Surgery for examination and treatment as we have the facilities, equipment and staff available to give a better level of care. If a house visit is preferred and considered practical then we will make every effort to accommodate this. Wherever possible this should be arranged in advance during normal working hours. Unfortunately we are unable to guarantee a house visit outside of normal working hours or in the emergency situation, and it remains the client’s responsibility to ensure transport to the Practice is possible.
Whilst we are able to provide a large range of services and facilities within the Practice, sometimes it may be in your pet’s best interest to consider referral to an alternative or more specialist Practice. If such care is considered appropriate this will be discussed with yourself. If you would prefer referral or a second opinion within the St James’ team then please feel free to discuss this with us.
Fees and Estimates:
All fees, medication and product charges are available upon request. VAT is chargeable at the current rate. Fee levels are based upon expertise and time taken to perform a procedure. We are able to provide a written estimate of costs for a procedure or course of treatment. However, any estimate given can only be approximate, taken into consideration the probable course of treatment. Unforeseen complications and individual variation on response to treatment may mean that the final invoice is different to the original estimate. We will do our best to keep clients updated of ongoing costs and anticipated costs during the course of treatment. Please ensure that you have an understanding of the costs prior to treatment commencing and also during the course of treatment.
Payment is required at the time of treatment or upon discharge of your pet unless alternative arrangements have been made in advance. Should an account not be settled then a reminder will be sent later that month. Should it be necessary to send further reminders then additional administration costs may be incurred. Failure to settle accounts or make suitable arrangements with the Practice will result in referral of the account to a debt management agency. Further charges will be incurred due to the costs involved of such action. If payment terms are not met, then following due notification, the practice reserves the right to withdraw the provision of services.
Inability to Pay:
If you are unable to pay for the treatment necessary then please discuss this prior to treatment as alternative options may be available. If you are unable to settle an existing account then please speak to Laura Evans, our accounts manager, as soon as possible to discuss possible arrangements.
We actively recommend Pet Health Insurance, and are happy to discuss this topic generally, but under the terms of the Financial Conduct Authority are only authorised to promote the services of PetPlan. It remains the client’s responsibility to select an Insurance provider and level of cover that suits their circumstances. Insurance claims may be processed with the insurance provider either paying the Practice directly, or the client reclaiming the cost of treatment after they have paid the Practice. Direct claims will require proof of insurance cover and the Practice reserves the right to make a charge for such claims. It is the client’s responsibility to pay any excesses or deductions made by the insurance company, and should the claim be declined, the outstanding account remains the responsibility of the client. Details of clinical history may be passed to insurance companies as a routine part of the claims procedure.
Prescription only medications may only be dispensed to animals under our care. This will require your pet being seen by a veterinary surgeon before the medication can be provided. The timeframe in which your pet must have been seen will depend upon the medication and condition being treated, varying from every 3-12 months. A charge is made for these re-examinations, please ask for details of the current price.
Repeat prescriptions require a minimum of 24-hours notice. If your pet has not been seen within the required time period for the medication being requested, then an appointment may be necessary. It is the client’s responsibility to request any medication with sufficient time to arrange such appointments should they be necessary.
Whilst we endeavour to be competitive in terms of the price of medication, you may buy medication from alternative sources. Written prescriptions are available upon request to do so. A charge is payable for this service, please ask for details of the current price.
In accordance with the Medicines Act we will always endeavour to use a veterinary licenced product to treat your animal. However, this may not always be possible/appropriate, in which case we will follow the ‘cascade system’ to select the next appropriate drug. Any use of an off-licence drug is based upon a risk-benefit analysis. In dispensing an unlicensed medication, the veterinary surgeon involved may require you to sign an “off licence” or “cascade use” consent form. Please speak to a veterinary surgeon should you have any concerns about this issue.
Due to government legislation we are unable to refund any unused medications.
Ownership of Records:
All clinical records, including radiographs and similar documents remain the property of St James’ Veterinary Group. Any charges are made for the interpretation of such records rather than the documents themselves. We will of course provide copies of clinical histories and other documents (including radiographs), by request to another Veterinary Practice should this be necessary.
Vaccination Reminders and Export Certificates:
The Practice will attempt to contact you to remind you that your pet’s vaccination is due to be performed. However, this is a complimentary service and it remains the client’s responsibility to ensure vaccinations are up to date. During the completion of export procedures and overseas travel, it remains the client’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements are satisfied.
We sincerely hope that you will never feel the need to complain about the services and care provided by St James Veterinary Group. However, should you be dissatisfied with the treatment of your pet then we initially advise that you discuss this with the veterinary surgeon involved. Should this not be appropriate or unsuccessful then we advise you contact the Practice at the earliest opportunity so that the issue can be resolved. All complaints should be directed to the Client Care Manager in the first instance. If appropriate we may request that you put your complaint in writing so that it can be recorded and dealt with.
No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the Practice unless specifically agreed in writing and signed by one of the Partners. No other agent or person has the authority to alter these conditions.