Major veterinary groups and animal welfare charities have joined forces to ensure veterinary care can continue under the Covid-19 lockdown.
CVS, Goddard Veterinary Group, IVC Evidensia, Linnaeus, Medivet, Vets Now, Vet Partners and Vets4Pets – along with the RSPCA, PDSA and Blue Cross, have agreed to support each other and independent practices to provide care when there are practice closures.
All members of the Major Employers Group, which comprises 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 for animals.
Other key measures agreed by senior leaders include ensuring no animal is denied its basic right to emergency first aid and pain relief as far as is possible, regardless of which practice it is registered at. In some circumstances, this could mean diverting clients to other practices that are able to provide care.
Major employers will, where necessary, pool their resources to enable the continued supply of veterinary services, which should include independent practices in the locality who wish to participate. Major employers will also encourage local discussions to establish continuity of veterinary service provision. All members will commit to the safety of their teams and clients.
Veterinary group leaders hope to avoid major disruption to emergency provision if practices are forced 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. Farmers, horse owners and pet owners will still be able to access 24-hour 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.