Harrogate pet owners' fears over cuts to services

Harrogate pet owners at expressing alarm over the imminent reduction of some services at one of the town's leading veterinary practices.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 3:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:24 pm
Reduction of some services - Harrogate dog owners are concerned about the transfer of some services from the VetHospital in Oak Beck.

Since national company Medivet announced just before Christmas it would be ending out of hours and emergency cover at Oak Beck VetHospital off Skipton Road, some members of the public have complained about the lack of detail in the announcement.

They are also concerned at the distance they would potentially have to travel to the suggested alternative branch at Thirsk.

One dog owner, who has been with Medivet for nine years, said the ending of what he said had been a "superb service" could, potentially, cause distress for his, and other people's, pets.

Lecturer Stuart Rhodes said: "Until now I have been very happy with the way my pet has been treated at Oak Beck but right now I am nervous and worried that since Medivet took over you are dismantling what has been a superb service.

"Currently I don’t know if any other 24-hour/365-day and emergency cover attached to a hospital in Harrogate. Surely a town our size deserves to keep this facility?"Only today Floyd has had a serious accident, resulting in a head injury and cut to his face, which required a dash to this vets. "He was seen straight away, treated and is home, medicated and sleeping. If this injury had occurred out of hours I would have had to drive while cradling a bleeding dog 22 miles to Thirsk."

When it was taken over in 2016 by Medivet, a nationwide company set up in 1987 which has grown to own 245 veterinary practices in the UK, the RCVS-certified VetHospital was renowned for offering nursing staff present 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Harrogate to care for in-patient pets.

The biggest fears now being expressed by pet owners via Twitter and Facebook is the distance that will have to be travelled after the out of hours services are transferred to Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk.

But the official announcement by Medivet said that Skeldale Veterinary Centre had state-of-the-art facilities and would also have full access to pets' current clinical records.As a result, it would enable the Thirsk branch to monitor pets effectively.

The announcement said the changes would not affect any regular consultations or appointments clients may have already set up and would still allow them to access the best pet care possible around the clock.

There are a wide range of other vets available to pet owners in Harrogate and Knaresborough, including Shamrock Vets at Knaresborough Road, Crab Lane Vets at Crab Lane, Vets4Pets Harrogate at Hookstone Park and Forest House at York Place in Knaresborough.

Most have out of hours emergency cover, though their standard opening hours rarely extend or 8pm or earlier.

In March 2018 Medivet told it shareholders it would be slowing down the rate at which it acquired new practices to "allow the regional director team more time to integrate into the business" while "maintaining the very highest standards of client and patient care."