06 November 2020
All creatures great and small
Life as a vet at Scottish Vet Referrals is never dull. Despite the surgery having to close for six weeks in early lockdown, the team have continued to work, providing secondary veterinary services, particularly in ophthalmology, to pets across the north of Scotland. But things have changed from pre-COVID-19 times.
With a team of 12 including nurses and vets, some of whom are visiting staff, numbers have grown at Scottish Vet Referrals since they opened on the Campus in 2017 with three staff. The growing numbers have meant changes to the purpose-built premises. In 2019 a CT scanner was added providing a full-time computerised tomography service for the first time in the north of Scotland. Now further expansion is being planned, to increase capacity and address new working conditions brought about by COVID. The partners are exploring different options to provide much needed kennelling and office space, as well as expanded staff facilities to accommodate COVID social distancing restrictions.
“Lockdown gave us thinking time; time to regroup and appraise the business’, says partner Kirsten MacLeod. One result of COVID is that our visiting vets [Medicine/Oncology and Cardiology clinicians, and Orthopaedic & Soft tissue Surgeons] have increased their time in Inverness, perhaps as pet owners are more wary about travelling to the central belt.”
Working practices for the Inverness-based vets have changed too, particularly as owners now need to drop off their pets at the surgery rather than accompanying them, resulting in conversations between vet and owner being done over the phone.
Although some of the collaborative research work in which SVR is involved e.g. with the University of the Highlands and Islands, has slowed in pace, other Campus links have continued over the last few months. The masks worn by staff come from Aseptium through Project Corran. There has been dialogue with the 4c engineers and with Scottish Rural College. “The links provided by the Campus community have been valuable to us, particularly in recent times” comments Kirsten
And SVR partner Kirsten has been busy with some more unusual clients. A recent edition of Vets Gach Creutair Beo on BBC Alba featured Kirsten and Tony treating some snow leopards at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig.https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nxbp