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Practice News and Out of Hours update

Practice News and Out of Hours update

Like many people, I’m struggling to keep up with the pace of time over the past few months. Glen’s reminders of the copy deadline for each edition of the Times seem to appear with less and less time between them, even though I know this not to be true.  Summer just slips through our fingers whereas winter sticks like mud.

At least some of the rhythm of normal life is returning for most of us, although for those in the caring professions, it never stopped.  Strange how the daily work patterns changed at the clinics during lockdown, becoming more intensive during the day but much quieter at night.  Fear of contacting Covid at a hospitals’ A and E department may partly explain the drop in human patients who presented to the NHS but it remains a mystery why this was mirrored in the veterinary sector, at least around here.  This coincidence continues as both the medical and veterinary professions are seeing a rebound in out-of-hours work and emergency admissions, although I suspect for different reasons.  My guess is the backlog of human cases put on hold over the past year is starting to feed through into hospital departments, a factor that also affected the veterinary profession as for many months we were not allowed to perform routine procedures.  We all saw the sense in that, reducing contacts between owners and staff and saving precious oxygen supplies for NHS intensive care units.  Unlike our human counterparts, we managed to catch up quite quickly as we did not have three waves of new Covid cases to deal with.  The recent increase in worried owners calling for advice during the night and at weekends is probably now due to the rise in pet numbers over the past year.

It has been traditional in both human and veterinary medicine to work all day, be on-call all night and then work again through the following days.  Why this was ever even allowed, let alone adopted as the norm, I really don’t know.  Sleep deprivation, intensive work pressure and the exhaustion that follows just do not create the best conditions for critical decision making, funnily enough.  My daughter is about to start as a junior doctor in York so I will be interested to know if the NHS has done anything to help their situation (I suspect very little).  In the veterinary world, dedicated emergency care is available in many parts of the country, where vets and nurses work proper night shifts and have the day to sleep.  I am glad to say that we have at last made arrangements with an emergency care provider, giving a higher standard of care to those animals that need attention at night and improving our own quality of work during the day.

Many of you may already know that the Yeovil surgery on Preston Road will now open on Sunday mornings and stay open until 8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Never an easy one, increasing opening hours, as staff cannot be in two places at once.  Consequently, Swan House in Sherborne will not open at weekends but of course any Sherborne clients wishing to be seen will be welcomed at Preston Road.

My last piece of practice news is the arrival of another veterinary surgeon, Emily, who like Oliver spent many weeks with us as a student before qualification a year ago.  Both have seen a lot of “action” over the last year and with our team of experienced vets around them, we look forward to seeing how the next generation will move the profession forward. I fully expect to be astounded at what young people can achieve when motivated and supported, in this profession or any other.  Let’s hope the post-pandemic world is ready for them, as I am sure they are ready for it.


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