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Transcript 2015 EDITIONplus...Volunteering abroad,Opening St. Helensand much, much moreLatest update:White Cross FundKeeping you up-to-dateFlorida 15Orlando was magic!In 2015 White Cross Vets will provide more than 30,000 in discounts to pet charities212My White CrossJourney - Alvaston7Congress 201513The Paul OGrady Show18A personalexperience ofeuthanasiaBusiness In March we celebrated another listing in The Sunday Times Top 100 SmallCompanies to Work For list. An all-time high of 19th position was achievedwith White Cross ranking 6th in this company is run on strong values. Withfamily values at the heart of our business, this accomplishment is a realendorsement, by our team, of the culture of our practice. Principles, valuesand culture are the things that dierentiate us from everyone else and it is of paramount importance that we live these every single day in our practices.Training and development has taken centre stage this year with recordnumbers of vets undertaking post graduate certicates as well as newleaders starting the Institute of Leadership and Management Certicate,CCCs continuing their development programme (including the upcoming and much anticipated trip to Nice and Monaco), and an exciting programmebeing devised for our own Congress in September.Business wise, the year ending March 2015 was a very successful one with all sales and prot plans being met. The Group sales rose to 5.7 million, an increase of almost 24% on the previous year. This coming year we areplanning for sales growth of 15% excluding any new practices. Regarding new practices, May saw the opening of our newest venture in St Helens,Merseyside under the stewardship of Kelly Whitelaw. At just a few weeks old, the practice is proving very popular with client feedback being extremely positive. Life continues apace across the White Cross Vetsgroup with our talented team now numbering overone hundred and thirty!By Tim Harrison, managing directorOur stand at BSAVAI was nally beinggiven the chanceto do the job I haddreamt aboutsince I was 14.Donation Days will provide 12 months of work for charity how are you spending yours? 322Volunteering inthe Caribbean28Keep rollin, rollin, rollin!I believe we aredoing clients adisservice byproviding clinicaladvice over the phone.34Laughter; the best medicine32 Removing barrirers to care UpdateLater this year we hope to open in Wolverhampton and by the end of thenancial year in Widnes. We will be recruiting in the coming months so let us know if you are aware of any potential White Cross people.The most exciting news is the recent relaunch of our Complete Wellness Plan.We have merged in to one single plan with many more enhanced benetsincluding unlimited free consultations, top level Hills discounts and cover forthe prevention of lungworm. Along with a new package, we are changing thesystem so that the majority of the administration will be done in-house atCTSO. Karen Lawrence has been appointed Wellness Plan Administratorworking within the Service and Finance Department. Having contributed in anumber of roles during the past few years, Karen will now devote her entiretime to manage this very important part of our practice. There are newmarketing materials to support you as well as in depth training for all teams.These Wellness Plans will extend pets lives and every pet deserves such acomprehensive health plan.Finally, I would like to highlight the great work many of you do for the WhiteCross Fund to keep owners and their pets together for longer. Many of youundertake fund raising on a regular basis, for example the sponsored runsdone by the West Derby team (including climbing in Snowdonia), and CammySneddon (Wendys son) completing the Tough Mudder. A special thanks must go to Rod, James, and Duncan (James brother in law) for completingthe almost unheard of feat of cycling from Lands End to John O Groats injust seven days. Enduring thirteen hours in the saddle every single day andriding a total of 920 miles, the trio have raised three thousand pounds for the fund!Turn to page 28 to read aboutJames and Rods incredible cycleWhite Cross Vets treat all school pets for free4By Nishi Jani, clinic director, NorthamptonWhen my name was drawn at congress for an all-inclusivetrip to a congress in Europe, I was shocked, partly because I had no idea I had been entered into the draw but mainlybecause I never normally win anything.However, when this was later upgraded to a week-long trip to NAVC (NorthAmerican Veterinary Community) Conference in Orlando, Florida, I couldn'tbelieve my luck. Plus, not only were there a huge amount of varied andinteresting lectures but the trip also included loads of fun extras.First a quick ight across the AtlanticDay 1: After checking in to the hotel, we enjoyed dinner and drinks at Downtown Disney.Day 2: First day at NAVC, mainly spent getting my bearings betweenthe Marriott and the Gaylord(!) exhibition centres. I must say, thedierence in size between NAVC and BSAVA is astounding. Morethan 16,000 people attended NAVC 2015 and there is already talkof moving the event to larger premises as the conference hasoutgrown the hundreds of square metres it already occupies.That evening we had a lovely meal at a Mexican restaurant atUniversal Studios followed by my joint highlight of the trip -Pat O'Brien's duelling piano bar. Two adjacent pianos ona stage play any audience requests and everybodyhas a sing-a-long. It was a really electricatmosphere and a great warm up for theVIP section of the Tier nightclub, wheresome of us ended up into the small hours.FloridaNewsFriends for life: Elisia, Hayley, Jade and CherylA visit to a Baneld HospitalFine dining with VirbacUse your Ales to say thanks to team members that have gone the extra mile 5Day 3: Despite a slightly later start to congress forsome of us, a tour of the local Baneld Hospitalawaited. It was great seeing the inspiration for WhiteCross and comparing the similarities anddierences across the two companies. I particularlyliked how their name badges had a place for apicture of their pet on them. After a quick stop oat Hooters, we headed to an Orlando Magic vs.Oklahoma City basketball game. Day 4: After a breakfast lecture on Cushings(where I realised that a bus full of people at6am on their way to a lecture can mean onlyone thing: jetlag) there were some greatlectures on cytology and a wander aroundboth exhibition halls. Here, ratherconveniently, being from the UK meant youcould easily avoid signing up to things youhad no interest in, yet still collect as manyfree pens as you wanted. After a longday, we were treated to dinner ataward-winning restaurant Hawk'sLanding Steakhouse and joined byour friends from Shor-Line. I canhonestly say that was the best steakI have ever had.Day 5: This was dental day at NAVC, and theselectures were by far the most popular ones at theentire conference. There were some reallyinteresting tips on dental radiography, nerveblocks/pain relief and extraction techniques. In theevening, we were taken to Deep Blu Seafood Grilleby Virbac. Day 6: The day of my second joint highlight of thetrip - DISNEYLAND! While Tim, James and Wendywrestled alligators and learnt how to shag (it's adance move - Google it), the rest of us headed downto the Magic Kingdom. It was a great day, madeextra special by spending it as a group, and wastopped o by magical Disney reworks.Day 7: Starting o with an All-American stylebreakfast at the Cracker Barrel, we had a surprisehelicopter ride over the area we had been staying inover the past week. On our way to the airport westopped o at two outlet malls for a nal shoppingspree, and then headed home.I feel really lucky to have won a place to NAVC. It'lldenitely be something I will never forget and if Ihad to describe it in one word, it would be:AWESOME!When White Cross Vetswent to OrlandoNewsPet Fit Club, at NAVC#MagicKingdomSeleElisia, Hayley and KellyIntroduce a friend to White Cross Vets and you could receive up to 2,0006A nurses tale: Orlando was magic!FloridaBy Cheryl Sands, RVN, Coulby Newham.I won my trip to Florida at last years congress. Each year, a vet,nurse and CCC are randomly drawn, and 2014s event was my year! The NAVC is somewhere you only ever dream of attending. However, the closer it came to the trip, themore anxious I started to feel as I only knew a few of the ten people going. Luckily, White Cross employspeople who have a very similar outlook and attitude, so the whole group got on brilliantly.The conference was huge and based across two hotels. Each had an exhibition and numerous lecturesto accommodate vets, nurses, receptionists and practice managers and the lectures I attended werebrilliant and very informative. I have taken a lot from them as well as the stands at the exhibitions.The biggest surprise for me, however, was the dierence between nurses in theUK and nurses in America, known as veterinary technicians or vet techs. Talkingto them, as well as US vets, it seems UK nurses have come a long way over the lastfew years in comparison, not only showing the UK profession our role isimportant, but having the qualication recognised and respected. For most vettechs, however, although respect for the role is there, it seems there is no realincentive for any formal training. For example, salaries dont increase a greatdeal to reect the qualication, yet they still have to pay training fees.For me, this highlighted not only how fortunate I am to be a qualied VN inthe UK, but also to work for a company that respects and rewards itsqualied nurses.Away from the conference, White Cross made the trip even morespecial by organising some extracurricular activities. Highlightsincluded going to an NBA basketball game, going on a helicopterride over Orlando, having a look around a Baneld veterinaryhospital and enjoying two amazing meals with fantastic peoplefrom Shor-Line and Virbac. We also had an evening out at anightclub and experienced the epitome of Orlando - a trip toDisneys Magic Kingdom.I had the most amazing time and I made some fantastic friends. It really was the trip of a lifetime.NewsOver 15,000 has been raised for the White Cross Fund mainly through the practice teams 7For this years congress, held at the tastefully-restored 19th century Cranage Hall in Cheshireon September 18-20, our theme is Removing theBarriers to Care, and, as always, weve got apacked schedule.The full programme is to follow, but I just want to bring your attention tosome highlights. On Friday night, following leadership and level one training during theday, we will be having a Fijian-themed buet while we watch the Englandv Fiji rugby world cup match. A relaxed aair is the plan.Then, on Saturday morning, the leadership team are back in session, andtheres some Principles One training as well as a Voice meeting. Tim willthen do his address to the nation, and after Kristie Faulkner fromOnswitch takes us through the customer journey, its gladrags on for ourawards dinner, ceilidh and disco. On Sunday morning (after your 9:30am lie-in; you can thank me later)there is a choice of sessions from tips on avoiding claims and complaints,advice on how to manage Facebook, Instagram and online reviews, andupdates on wound management. Then theres an update on wellnessplans or a fresh look at the way we deal with pet loss in practice. After that, its outdoors for some Skool Sportz fun with Team Spirit, with an expected nish time of 4pm. You will shortly receive a congress booking form. Please complete this in full and when the whole team have completed one each, returnthem together. We are really looking forward to spending time with you all!Congress timecomes around again!By Wendy Sneddon, operations managerNewsWhite Cross Vets sponsors over 20 sports and community groups and teams8I joined the practice in August 2009, andwhen Im not here, I enjoy spending time withmy young family. I have two dogs too, calledStan and Charlie.Angie Hardy, vetMeet the team...Introducing Im Sammii and I started at White Cross in 2011as a receptionist. I am now, however, a secondyear veterinary nursing student and I am due toqualify after my practicals next year. I have aDalmatian called Lexi, who not only keeps the vetsbusy, but who I enjoy showing all over the countryand have qualified for Crufts four years in a row. I also have two spotted rabbits called Lottie and Lillie.Sammii Jenkins, SVNHi, Im Emily, and I joined White Cross in February 2009.Outside of work, four pets keep me incredibly busy. I havetwo dogs - Pebbles is a five-year-old Collie-cross and Louieis a four-year-old Doberman - and two rabbits called Acornand Peanut. I also enjoy spending time with family andfriends and spa days. I love to go riding.Emily Duffell, head nurse and clinical coachI have been working at Alvaston for three years, 15 months of which as clinic director. Most people knowStig my dog who often visits our practice, and I also havetwo degus. Outside of work I spend my time walking withStig and my wife Emily, as well as travelling and cooking.If I'm not doing any of those, I am likely to be found on ariver in a rowing boat.Will Newbury,clinic directorStigAlvaston#19 in the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For 2015 9Hello, my name is Helen, and I started here just over ayear ago. I live in Derby with my husband Andrew andour gorgeous cat, Mike. We very recently got married(Andrew and I, not Mike and I) so now that we are notorganising a wedding, we mainly spend our time out ofwork socialising with friends and family.Helen Henstridge, vetMy name is Sarah and I have been at Alvastonsince the beginning of time. I have a 14-year-oldPrincess who is my life and comes on all ourcaravan/cottage holidays with us, enjoying everyminute of it. I started out my career as the youngtrainee in the practice, and now find myself, 24years on, the oldest, ha! I am a keen walker, oftenseen up in the hills of Derbyshire, or cycling thecanal paths, or better still reading a good PhillipaGregory book, wishing I had been born in adifferent time, wearing posh frocks, going tofabulous balls and jousts and hopefully just managing to keep hold of my head. Yes a weirdo I know, but hey, I study health and safety. You dont get weirder than that.Sarah Srih, RVNHi, my name is Kirsty. Im a CCC and I love guinea pigs. Iown three little piggies: Woody, Mickey and Oswald. (Asyou can see by the names, Im also a little obsessed withDisney.) All of my pigs have been rescued. Woody wasadopted nearly a year ago and hes still a little a shy but willdo anything for a spinach leaf. Mickey and Oswald,meanwhile, were rescued from the RSPCA in Derby. Theyhad been homeless for six months, and as soon as I sawtheir picture I knew I had to have them. Oswald is still alittle bit shy but loves lots of tunnels and bridges to playwith and loves snuggling up to Mickey. Mickey is veryaffectionate and loves a cuddle. As soon as he sees me he comes straight up to me for a cuddle or a stroke. All three adore a cardboard box full of hay to jump into.Kirsty Smith, CCC AlvastonPrincessSammii and Lexiat CruftsAlvastonEight practices have visited more than 30 primary schools, 10 8 practices have visited over 30 primary schools, talking to over 2,000 children about pet care10Behold the poem about Alvaston,The practice located in Derby.The land of the Derby Rams And the inventors of the term mardy.For now we may be small and compact,Yet an extension will make up for what we lack!Within a few months, our size will be doubled, So taking on more ops and clients will be no trouble.Heres a little bit about the vets, Mike, Stig and Stan are but a few of their pets.Our team is second to none,The WOW award last year Angie won.To Bonnie she showed kindness and care,For a night in the kennels they made a cute pair.Helen is a classy lady, she is totes fabulous,But if she doesnt get her coffee fix, shecould be fit to burst.She recently went down the aisle, her vowsshe said with grace,Then jetted off around the world, herhoneymoon was ace.And then we have Will, the clinic director,With him as our boss we are super perfecta!In his spare time he does like to row,He greets his clients with a RIGHTEEHO!Everyone knows James - hes here, there and everywhere.When others are stumped, they know whoto call,For no task is too big or too small.Now for the nurses, of which we have fourAs well as Matt our student, so soon wellhave one more.Emily is the head; she keeps us all in line.She gets every single job done, come rainor shine!She is the go to on bunnies, for these sheknows lots about,And any question I ask she will answer itno doubt. Michelle is the best baker I know, Her brownies are what you need if you feel low.They are by far the best thing you have ever tasted,You can bet any money that none will be wasted.Insurance? I know who to ask:Sarah! Come help me, with this puzzling task!Accounts, figures, any manner of thing:Sarah come help me! I always sing!Sammii has been poorly of late.Day by day we sit and wait,For her to come back to us fit and well, For wellness plans sales she does excel!Now we come to the two CCCS,The phone answerers and makers of tea.Kirsty is bubbly and chatty,Everything a CCC should be.Her guinea pigs are called Mickey and Oswald,Like the characters from Disney.My name is Jenni and I love working here,The people and the pets I hold dear.Now that everything has been said by me,Ill pop the kettle on. Time for tea!A poetic view of Alvaston By Jenni Pincock, CCC, AlvastonAlvastontalking to more than 2,000 children aboutpet care 11For those of you I havent met yet, myname is Helen. Im one of the vets atAlvaston and I started working herein April 2014.My rst impression of Alvaston was that itwas a busy little suburb, with lots going on and plenty of thriving small businesses.I was slightly perturbed by the lack of Costabut, yknow, I guess I couldnt have it all!I will never forget my rst day working at thepractice, and during evening consults I saw a clientthat has stuck in my mind ever since. Looking over thedescription for the consult beforehand, it simply read skin.In walked a man in his mid-30s. He was tall, scruyand had a dirty cap perched on his head. He also hadtattoos all over his face and no teeth. Now, I was alittle taken aback by his unusual presentation, butobviously continued the consult as normal. Wediscussed options for Say the stae, and the client leftvery happily, without question, clutching well over 150worth of medications, spot-ons and shampoo.I think I have never forgotten this particularconsult because - and Im ashamed to admit it- I remember I was relieved (and possibly alittle surprised) there was no quibble overcosts and that the client paid, in full, withoutquestion. Clearly, his own personal health andhygiene didnt feature at the top of his prioritylist, but Say, his beloved pet, did. Actually, this consultation reminded me of WhiteCross principles and I feel I learnt a lot that day.Firstly, always oer the highest quality medicineand service. Secondly, always maintain integrityby making ethical decisions based only on thepet you see before you and not who brings themin. Your responsibility is towards the pet. Thirdly,keep our practices growing and developing withour dedication towards helping our patients andtheir owners.It brings me back to the age old saying neverjudge a book by its cover. I did that day and Ive never done it since!The only veterinary group ever to receive 3 stars in the Best Companies survey three times! 11Ill never forget my first day in DerbyBy Helen Henstridge, vet, Alvaston.AlvastonNominate up to three pets receive a 25% off friends and family discount12At the start of 2009, while working at aboarding kennels, I had started tothink it was time to move on. While Ienjoyed my job, I needed more.In a stroke of luck, a good friend, who knew about mywishes to become a veterinary nurse told me therewas a new veterinary practice opening a four-minutewalk away from where I lived. And that was it a newmission had begun.First of all, I changed the route I walked with my dogStan to pass the practice site. Every day, I would askthe workmen tting out the shell if the owner hadbeen in. The same reply greeted me each time: Not today luv.Eventually, (although probably just to get rid of me),the guys said they would pass on my CV for me. Afterwhat seemed like an age, I got a phone call inviting mefor an interview. Following three of these, gettingthrough nervously each time, I was oered areceptionist position.I was so excited to get started. It was only three hoursa day to begin with, but I didnt care, because I loved it.It was a struggle at rst too, going from a full-time jobto a part-time one, especially as I had a house and twofur babies to pay for. But I knew, with the practice onlybeing two months old when I started, that this was justthe beginning of my White Cross journey.And I was proved right. Once Alvaston became moreestablished, I was oered more hours, and thenbefore I knew it, I had a full-time position. However,while I was very happy with my receptionist position, Iknew what I really wanted to do.So when the practice had grown enough to needanother nurse in 2011, the decision was made tobecome a training practice and take on a studentnurse. I stuck both hands in the air and begged for theopportunity. It worked, and in January 2012, I startedmy nurse training.I couldnt quite believe my luck that at 29 years old, Iwas nally being given the chance to do the job I haddreamt about since I was 14. It was hard though. Forone, I had to retrain my brain to study as I hadnt doneanything college-related since I was 17. However, I struggled through revision, passing exams andassignments (my nemesis) for two-and-a-half years.My practical exams were in 2014, so while everyoneelse was enjoying running around in oversizedcostumes and swimming in foam pits at congress, Iwas going through the worst experience of my life so far.OSCEs!I had to wait six weeks for my results, and, nally, theyarrived. I was afraid to open them, convinced that Ihad failed, but no.Id passed! I remember jumpingup and down with excitement. Id done it! After so long dreaming about it, I was now a qualiedveterinary nurse!I couldnt have done it without my family andcolleagues at work, especially my then clinical coachEmily, but most of all I couldnt have done it withoutWhite Cross giving me the opportunity to live my dreams. Now the real work starts!My White Crossjourney AlvastonI was nally being given thechance to do the job I haddreamt about since I was 14.By Michelle Hughes, RVN, AlvastonAlvastonMichelle with StanEvery CCC will have the opportunity to take the trip to Nice & Monte Carlo in 2015 13However, one in particular has had a proper taste ofthe celebrity lifestyle. Vanessa, from our Guiseleypractice, recently made her live TV debut onThe Paul OGrady Show on ITV,and here Justin Phillips asks herall about the magical day.Q: So Vanessa, how was it?!A: Really exciting. Id never doneanything like it before, so Iwas a bit nervous and didntreally know what to expect, but Iwas very well looked after and had a great time.Q: And what was Paul OGrady like?A: Very nice. Hes normal, down to earth and reallymade me feel at ease. Hes genuinely a massive petlover too he was very taken with all the guests Ihad to talk about, especially the little micro pigletthat cuddled up in his jacket.Q: Did you manage to rub shoulders with any othercelebrities while you were there?A: The studio where the show is lmed is also wherethey lm lots of other programmes, actually, and mydressing room was sandwiched between LorraineKellys and Blurs; they were appearing on TheGraham Norton Show. However, even though I sawthem backstage, I didnt get to meet themunfortunately. Christine Bleakley was really lovelythough - she came over afterwards to introduceherself and have a chat!Q: How did the appearance come about?A: Each episode of the show nishes with a dierenttopic. Theyd previously had an artist painting live,for example. Paul is such a pet lover, it made senseto do a section on unusual pets.Q: Are there any plans for a return appearance?A: Theres nothing denite planned, but the producershave said theyll be in touch if they have any otherpet related segments in the future. Id denitely goback if they asked - it was great fun!If you missed Vanessa's TV debut, to take a look.Paul is such a pet lover, itmade sense to do asection on unusual pets.Here at White Cross, all ofour vets are superstarswhen it comes to takingthe very best care of pets.GrowthIn 2016 every Nurse and 2017 every Vet will have the opportunity to visit Nice & Monte Carlo14Here's Jess, Gen, Louise, Jane and Eileen from West Derby as you've neverseen them before. The determined bunch tackled the rst half of theirfund-raising double-header for the White Cross Fund on Saturday June 6thby completing the world's most colourful 5km run in Liverpool. Not contentwith just one event, they then packed their rucksacks and hiked up Mt.Snowden, the highest mountain in Wales to raise over 600 for the Fund.Remember: if you have a clinical case that could benet from the supportof the White Cross Fund please get in touch with Val or Jane Harrison.RUN OR My TeamIn 2015 White Cross Vets will provide more than 30,000 in discounts to pet charities 15 DYEMy TeamDonation Days will provide 12 months of work for charity how are you spending yours?16New kidon theBlox(wich)At vet school, everyone assumed I would be an equine vet. At vet school, so did I......However, in practice, everything seemed to change.Initially, new grad enthusiasm kept me sane despite aseven-day week, very little sleep and stud work. Then,as I started moving into mixed work, the dierences inrst opinion practice between small animals andhorses really began to show. Yet, deciding my dissatisfaction with horse work mayhave been down to feeling I was unable to practice at a high clinical standard, I undertook an equineinternship. And, during this, questions such as 1) Do I want to do all horse work? 2) Do I want to do a PhD? and 3) Would I consider a residency? were all answered.NO. So, back in mixed practice, I nally admitted I had apreference for small animal work, and as time wenton, I began thinking about the future and furtheringmy career.The Bloxwich clinic director position was brought tomy attention by a recruiting agent who, knowing mylong term plans (moving into a managerial positionwhile maintaining a practical veterinary role) felt ameeting with Tim would be worthwhile. She wascorrect and after an entertaining pub supper, the restis history. My White Cross experience so far has been anythingbut dull. Even before I was an ocial clinic director Ireceived a very warm welcome from the managementteam at the budget meeting. I gured that if this was a sign of things to come, I will be happy here! Since starting, Bloxwich has been taking good care ofme. A new job with new responsibilities in a new areais quite a challenge to take on but the team has givenme great support and gentle pointers along the way.Initially I was concerned I wouldnt be able to ndanything but its amazing what happens when youthink out loud in the middle of the roomLong may it lastBy James Horner, clinic director, Bloxwich.James with BruceMy fabulous Bloxwich teamMy TeamFull name: James Michael Adam HornerAge: 28Career summary: Horses, horses and smalls, smalls (locum,South Africa), smalls and chickens(volunteer TAWS, Tanzania), horseinternship (good idea at the time!), smalls and horses, White Cross smalls.Pets: Bruce, a six-year-old Labrador and a small ock of Jacob sheep with a ramcalled Blue Diamond.Hobbies: Was playing rugby, now watching rugby.Climbing mountains/trekking. Restoringmy grandfathers classic car (Bristol 405).Playing jazz trumpet. DIY.Likes: Whisky and steak.Dislikes: Baked beans.Aspiration: Rule the world/Become Prime Minister.Future plans: In the short term, I am moving housewhere I can start addressing my DIY urges.FASTFACTSSpotlight:JohnGuggenheimQ: What is your full name?A: John Michael Guggenheim.Q: Do you have a nickname?A: I might haveQ: What is it?A: Jeremy Kyle. Or, Jezza!Q: Thats uncanny as you look just like him!A: Very funny.Q: What pets do you have?A: A black Labrador called Ruby.Q: What job do you do at White Cross?A: Director, mainly looking after legal, property and nance issues.Q: Who is your hero?A: Craig, of course.Q: What do you do in your spare time?A: Run around after my daughters.Q: What is your favourite lm?A: I have two. Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing.Q: What music do you like?A: Rock music like The Stereophonics.Q: If you could be any breed of dog, what would you be?A: A miniature poodle.Q: Tell us something about you we dont knowA: I once drummed with members of the Housemartins while at University in Hull, including Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim).Q: Who is the most attractive team member working at White Cross Vets?A: Dave the Homeister. Obviously.White Cross Vets treat all school pets for free 17My TeamUse your Ales to say thanks to team members who have gone the extra mile18A personal experience of By Stacey Law, RVN, WalkdenBefore I started working at WhiteCross, I found myself on the other sideof the consulting table at a dierentpractice one day, and when thatexperience resulted in euthanasia formy pet, I learned a lot about howimportant that moment - when itstime to say goodbye really is.When Connies demeanour and behaviour changed,we knew something was very wrong. Not only was she inappetant, which for a Labradorcaused us major concern, she was also restless andwhen she got up from lying on her side, she would bedry coughing and retching. Her eyes became dull andlost their spark, and muscle tremors alerted us shewas in pain.When we took her to the vets, they said her lungssounded clear and gave her two courses ofantibiotics. However, these had no eect, so webooked an emergency appointment. Two days later, in the practices rst available slot,Connie was admitted. On instruction, we waited for a phone call after the procedure.At midday, during that phone call, I was told myLabrador had a large tumour occupying most of herlung. Not only that - it had already formed stems,suggesting it had spread.I broke the news to my parents. Initially, my Dad saidhe wanted Connie woken up so she could be takenhome and put to sleep.However, as a veterinary nurse, I felt this was unfair to Connie. She was already struggling, and to force recovery from sedation when she was sopoorly and in pain would have caused herunnecessary suering.We therefore made the decision to say goodbye toher at the surgery while she was still asleep andunaware of the pain.When we arrived, the team took us through to thepreparation area of the practice where Connie was laidon the examination table. They had put her toy next toher, which was very comforting. They had also alreadyplaced an intravenous catheter prior to our arrival,which was a total relief to me as I didnt want myparents to see a needle being put into Connies vein.Although she had been laid out with a blanket andlooked peaceful, there was a lot going on while wewere trying to say our goodbyes. In one of thetheatres leading o from the preparation room, anoperation was taking place, while x-rays were goingon in another. We kept being asked to leave the roomso x-rays could be taken.As we were in shock and emotional, we didnt think toask for a private room, but this was also never oeredto us. Connie was put to sleep with procedures goingon around us. As a family, even though we did thekindest thing for Connie, we feel we never got to saygoodbye properly.I feel its so important for everyone to have privatetime with their pet to say goodbye, as by making thechoice to end a pets suering, we are lovingly andunselshly choosing to accept our own.However, as a veterinary nurse, I felt this was unfair to Connie.She was already struggling, andto force recovery from sedationwhen she was so poorly and inpain would have caused herunnecessary suering.Connie was a hugepart of our familyMy TeamIntroduce a friend to White Cross Vets and you could receive up to 2,000 19 euthanasiaHere is a poem we received in a sympathy card,which was very comforting to our family.If it should be that I grow weak,and pain should keep me from my sleep,then you must do what must be done,for this last battle cant be won.You will be sad, I understand,dont let your grief then stay your hand,for this day more than all the rest,your love for me must stand the test.Weve had so many happy years,what is to come can hold no fears,youd not want me to suffer so,the time has come please let me go.Take me to where my needs theyll tend,and please stay with me to the end,hold me firm and speak to me,until my eyes no longer see.Please do not grieve it must be you,who has this painful thing to do,weve been so close, we two these years,dont let your heart hold back the tears.Did you know you can get a rebatefrom the taxman for these threethings: association memberships (i.e. BSAVA/BVA), professional fees(i.e. RCVS), and, believe it or not,getting uniforms cleaned.However, it is in your interest to pay for theseyourself and then complete a self-assessment formeach year. This is because White Cross currentlypays your RCVS fees and as this is classed as abenet in kind, you have to pay tax on it. Visit more information.As well as this,theres the Cycleto Work scheme,where you buy abike and pay itback over 12/18months. Themonthly cost istaken o yoursalary beforecalculation of taxand nationalinsurance, so thetaxman is paying athird, if not more,for your bike.A word on childcare vouchers, too. A newGovernment programme is being introduced inSeptember where for every 80p put in a childschildcare payment pot, the Government will add anextra 20p, with parents able to use this to assistwith up to 10,000 of childcare annually foreach child. However, this wont be better forsome parents, so the best way to make savingsshould be considered before the switch. Followingthe changes, existing childcare voucher schemeswill no longer be able to add new members, so itsimportant to encourage as many parents aspossible to sign up now.Pay less tax...REALLY!By Jo Jobling, group nance managerLorna with her new bikeMy TeamOver 15,000 has been raised for the White Cross Fund mainly through the practice teams20On May 26 2015, a new practice joined the White Cross Vets family. At 2,800 square feet,St Helens is our biggest purpose-built practice so far, and it is built on an area that waspreviously a derelict working mens club. Here, the team say hello and share theirexperiences of the rst weeks.By the St Helens teamIt has been really interesting setting up the practice ready for clients.Before White Cross, I had been working at the PDSA for eight-and-a-half years where I had gained a lot of nursing as well as client service experience but I was looking for a change. I love the new practice and really enjoy being part of a brand new team.Michelle Creswell, RVN(pictured left)The set up week was a bit of a whirlwind, I must say. There werelots of things going on and a lot of information to take in. However,despite it being a busy week, it was good fun and really interestingbeing involved from the start, especially watching the practice takeshape from the empty shell it once was. It is a lovely new practicewith good equipment and a nice layout.I think Michelle, Kelly and I work really well as a team. We are allenthusiastic, hardworking and friendly people and I feel we arealso quite chilled out and are used to working in busy practices sowe rub along really well. I couldnt have picked a better team myself!All in all it has been a fantastic experience so far and I would recommend it to anyone.Ann-Marie Mayren, RVN(pictured right)I worked at White Cross Vets in Walkden for more than twoyears before moving to the new practice at St Helens to takeup the role of clinic director. I was looking forward to a new challenge.I had been visiting the site while the practice was being builtso I knew the rough layout and size of the practice. But whenI went inside for the first time after it had been finished, Iactually cried. It was so beautiful and spacious; I couldnt wait to get started. The induction week was so much fun, getting to know thenew team. We seemed to gel straight away and work reallywell together.Taking up the role of clinic director has been intense and tiring, especially in the first few weeks, but I love it and I have never enjoyed going into work as much as I do now.Kelly Whitelaw, clinic director(pictured centre)Welcoming St Helens to White CrossMy TeamWhite Cross Vets sponsors over 20 sports and community groups and teams 21I rst met Tim Harrison around 16 years ago. As a VN starting a new career in saleswith Fort Dodge Animal Health, I was accosted by Tim to enter the world of Vets4Petsthrough opening my own branch. As exciting as it sounded, I was young and lackingthe ingredients to contribute to the Harrison rising empire. Some years later, in 2010, I was now a regional managerfor Virbac. Tim and I met once again, and this time, hewas the MD of White Cross Vets. A group of just sevenpractices at the time, the company was one I knew littleabout but after listening to Tim, I quickly grasped thecultural similarities between our two companies.Tim has always maintained his success with WhiteCross Vets has been built on the family practiceethos, which he denes as the way he looks after histeam. This is wholly evident when you meet them; ahappy, smiling, professional bunch that put theirpatients rst. The social arena is also a very importantpart of the companys culture, with conferences,parties and trips abroad oered to all individuals - aculture Virbac shares. These social events bring theteam together, maintain and build spirit while sharingskills and expertise.Founded in 1968, by vet Pierre-Richard Dick, Virbac isalso a family business, with the Dick family still majorshareholders today. Similar to White Cross, thecompany has very strong management principles,always trying to promote internally so to invest inambition and capability. A sense of humour is vital too,and I have left White Cross Vets many times havinghad a giggle. On one occasion, when meeting Tim forlunch to discuss a new product, I left my purse athome. So I had invited a Yorkshireman out to lunchonly to ask him to pay for it along with some fuel formy car. Whoops.Virbac - and I personally - are very honoured to beinvolved with White Cross Vets. I am frequently askedwho we supply and I am always proud to say yourname. I feel we t in the White Cross Vets culture andas such, our relationship is one of true partnership. White Cross Vets and Virbac: Two family businesses working togetherBy Charlotte Covell, commercial manager, VirbacTim Harrison and James Horner with Charlotte CovellWe look forward to welcoming every White Cross Vetsteam member to the south of France for some learning,fun and sunshine in Nice and Monaco. This Septemberits the turn of the Client Care Co-ordinators with everynurse taking the trip in 2016 and every vet in 2017. See you soon.Quality#19 in the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For 201522On May 4 this year, my husband andI were lucky enough to travel to theCaribbean island of Carriacou towork as volunteers.We ew from London Gatwick to Grenada. From there, itwas an eight-seat light aircraft to Carriacou, where wewere met by Dr M aka Shurlyn Matherson - the onlyfull-time person employed by Carriacou Animal Hospital.Dr M showed us around and helped us settle in.We soon found out that despite Carriacou being a smallisland, the clinic was very busy, with lots ofappointments and people dropping in with sick orinjured pets. The majority of local people on the islanddont have a lot of money and cannot aord treatmentsso it runs on a donation basis, with people giving whatthey can aord. This ensures everyone has access totreatment and pets get the care they desperately need.To try and control the number of stray and abandoneddogs on the island, the hospital operates a spay/neuterprogramme. However, this is only eective if a) localresidents are willing to bring their pets in and b) or thehospital manages to see people while out on housecalls. During our time there, patients had varying issuesfrom skin complaints to basic inoculations, but one ofthe biggest things for the hospital by far is treating petsfor ea and tick infestations. Despite the hospital operating during normal ocehours and having an emergency out of hours number,there were still a lot of opportunities to explore. Forexample, we went out on boat trips to visitneighbouring islands and animal sanctuaries such asthe Turtle sanctuary at Tobago Cays. Caring for companions in By Marina Sadler, RVN, RedcarSeizing the opportunityto enjoy the island.Growth8 practices have visited over 30 primary schools, talking to over 2,000 children about pet care 23There were lots of bars and places to eat onthe island which were run by local islandersand ex pats alike. The people andatmosphere on the island was very warmand welcoming; it was almost like thenational pastime was smiling. Very refreshing. CarriacouCarriacouEssential supplies donated byVirbac and White Cross Vets.Carriacou Animal Hospital.GrowthThe only veterinary group ever to receive 3 stars in the Best Companies survey three times!24My company has been appointed to help negotiate thepensions maze for you, and I hope the following articlehighlights the main changes as well as providing detailsof where further information may be obtained.Workplace pensionsBetween 2012 and 2017, every company in the UK withtwo or more employees will be required to set up andrun a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme and auto-enrol any eligible employees. As you know, the schemeat White Cross Vets started in April 2015 and it hasincluded all team members. By 2018, a totalcontribution of at least eight per cent of earnings mustbe paid into the scheme and White Cross is continuingto look at the best ways to achieve this through itsannual budgets and pay reviews.Pensions update: building a lasting The pensions industry is going through one of the most radical phases in its history. White Cross Vets is keen to ensure its team has sucientinformation available so you can (a) fully understand what is happening and (b) understand the choices/options available to you.By Gareth Rees Smith, JPM Pensions LimitedWellbeingNominate up to three pets receive a 25% off friends and family discount 25Pension freedomApril 2015 saw the introduction of new legislation to giveindividuals greater choice and exibility over how andwhen they take their benets at retirement. From age 55onwards, regardless of whether or not they are still inemployment, individuals will be able to choose from: taking the entire fund as cash (although only 25 per cent will be available tax free); buying a lifetime or temporary annuity with someor all of the fund; or using income drawdown to take the desired levelof income each year from the fund while leavingthe remaining funds invested.The legislation has also removed the taxation of benetsinherited from a member where the member diesbefore age 75.These changes have further strengthened the attractionof saving into a pension scheme. However, they havealso required a rethink of how individuals should investtheir money, particularly in the run up to theirretirement and depending on their likely option post-retirement.State pensionsIn April 2016, the current two-tier state pension systemis being replaced by a one-size ts all at rate. This willbe no less than 148.40 per week. (The actual amount isyet to be conrmed, but should be by Autumn).However, there will be transitional arrangements andthe calculation of your precise entitlement can becomplex. Visit further information and an individual state pension statement.Pot Follows MemberAnother change being trialled right now and due to beintroduced in 2016 is the so called Pot FollowsMember legislation. This is a system designed toautomatically move small pension pots with anindividual when they move from one employer toanother. It will only apply in certain restrictedcircumstances though, and, initially, only to futurechanges in employment.Therefore, for the foreseeable future, if you do have anyexisting pension arrangements you wish to considertransferring to the White Cross Vets Scheme, you willhave to action this yourself. If you want any help in thisarea, we at JPM Pensions may be able to assist and canbe contacted on or 0121 270 4800.SummaryPensions remain the most tax-ecient form of saving foryour retirement and the advantages are only increasing.Theres tax relief on any personal contributions you pay(at your highest marginal rate) and no benet in kindcharge on any company contributions paid on yourbehalf. Plus, any funds invested grow almost entirely taxfree, while a quarter of the total fund will be available asa tax-free lump sum on retirement. You can get access tothe benets any time after age 55 regardless ofemployment status, and theres the removal of tax ondeath benets pre- and post- retirement in the majorityof circumstances (pre-75).Ultimately, the size of your pension fund and theresulting level of benets you receive in retirement areprimarily down to two factors (a) how much you payand (b) the investment growth you achieve.If you wish to increase your contributions you will needto complete a contribution form and return it to JoJobling for authorisation. Contribution levels can beincreased (or decreased) whenever required.To change your investment choices you will need to dothis directly through your Standard Life account. forfurther details. legacyVisit for more information on company pensions.Pensions remain the most tax-ecient form of saving foryour retirement and theadvantages are only increasingWellbeingEvery CCC will have the opportunity to take the trip to Nice & Monte Carlo in 201526Before you start reading, rst, adisclaimer: this is an account of myown personal certicate studies. Its mostly opinion. Therefore, it isnot particularly based on facts. So I started my certicate studies at Liverpool Universityaround ve years ago. Having nished my PDP, I wantedto do some targeted CPD. Starting out, I began with the A and B modules, andeven though it is an option to start with a morediscipline-specic C module (I think), I would stillrecommend doing it the usual way, mainly as theserst modules are the groundwork for not only casereports, but also other simple skills such writing inparagraphs. I personally hadnt used this since leavingvet school two years previously, so any help wasappreciated!Other areas covered included communication skills,time management and some clinical areas such asinfectious disease. Yes, if all you want to do is to getyour teeth sunk into clinical CPD, this can be a bit of adrag, but I actually found this interesting. For one, I gotto explore non-clinical subject areas, which possiblycontributed to a better understanding of my futurerole as clinic director.Modules are sixteen weeks long and are acombination of paper reading, online tutorial and interactive journal clubsessions. The last ofthese - journal clubsessions - may sounddaunting, but really,theyre not. Basically,you research a paperand present it viawebcam to a small group. These really test yourability to be at your computer at a certain time afterevening consults and they denitely challenge yourtechnical software and webcam knowledge!Although the course material says the certicateshould take around six hours each week, Ive foundthat to not be enough. I have been using at least myweekday o each week. Most deadlines are formidnight on a Sunday, so I have, on occasion, gottenincreasingly nervous/stressed/anxious as the eveningprogresses. It does add an extra pressure to yourweek, I must say. However, if push comes to shove, the deadlines can be exible. After completing the A and B modules, I took a coupleof years to concentrate on being clinic director, whichmeant no studying. I then started the C modules,which brought the focus to dermatology, a subject Ithought could be learnt well in-house with minimalsupervision from other vets. Theres lots of info on the Liverpool website( if youd like moreinformation about the courses.Missy belongs to Jacquie,our CCC, and has beenan ongoing case withatopic dermatitisStudying for a certificatein dermatologyBy Lorna Siddons, clinic director at Walkden.Lorna and Sonny takingtime out with friendsGrowthWho we have helped: Ghost, a Siberian husky from Bloxwich whounderwent successful penile sheath surgery. He is now doing well and his wounds are healing nicely. Susie, a Crossbreed from Kings Heath. She underwent emergency treatment for apyometra and is now back to her normal self. Domestic short hair Susie from Redcar whoneeded a leg amputation following a roadaccident. Her wounds have healed well and she is getting around satisfactorily. Labrador puppy Abbie from Kings Heath, whohad her fractured metatarsals pinned. She is now doing well.In 2016 every Nurse and 2017 every Vet will have the opportunity to visit Nice & Monte Carlo 27We began the New Year with our newname and a healthy bank balance.So, while we are not a charitable trust, this makes nodierence at all to what we do. However, please caneveryone make sure the application forms they areusing, along with any other fund paperwork, has thenew logo and name.Since January, we have paid out support for four cases,and there are several more in the pipeline. If a case inyour practice is receiving support, it is important yousend us an invoice ASAP after treatment is completedso we can issue the cheques. We would like more applications, so if you have asuitable case, please get in touch to set the wheels inmotion. We are happy to discuss any cases you feelmay need funding, and this includes ongoing caseswhere an owner may have diculty nding asignicant sum for the next stage of treatment.An update on fund-raising now. The year began with100 from Bloxwich, a donation from a grateful clientin memory of her dog. We also set up onlinefundraising via Golden Giving (, which enables you to set upfundraising pages for your events, with every pennyraised going directly to the Fund.Since then, we have had two incredible fund-raisingevents. Money is still coming in from James and Rodsamazing Lands End to John OGroats cycle ride (seepage 28). They have raised well over 3,000. A massivethank you to both Rod and James and everybody whosponsored them. The team from West Derby, meanwhile, have beenproving themselves to be very t and active by not onlytaking part in the 5K Run or Dye but recentlycompleting a hike up Snowdon. This has raised nearly600 to date and will be matched by monies fromWhite Cross. Well done guys!White Cross FundWe look forward tohearing about yourfundraising ideas.By Val and Jane Harrison, trusteesJames Wood and Rob Beardshall cyclingfrom Lands End to John OGroatsThe West Derby team tackle Mt Snowdon and the elementsCharityIn 2015 White Cross Vets will provide more than 30,000 in discounts to pet charities28Keep rollin, rol Saying yes was easy. After all, we are loath to turndown any challenge, and doing LEJOG (Lands Endto John OGroats), is a huge box to tick for any cyclist. Therefore Tim may have been surprised he got a yesalmost as quickly as had the question been would youlike another pint? when he challenged Rod and I to doit in just seven days. That conversation at congress lastSeptember was just the start, and gave us eightmonths preparation time. The rst four months of thispassed far too quickly, however, and, being a fairweather cyclist, my bike never left the garage. Whoops.Nevertheless, in February, things started to becomereal. The back-up team was recruited and a route wasplanned. Craig and Val were to pilot the supportvehicle, and my brother-in-law Duncan joined theteam. In the nal lead up, we all put in plenty oftraining, and armed with a bloody good excuse, lots ofnew kit was purchased (Im sure all wives empathisedwith this). Equipment inventories were nalised,attempting to account for all mechanical problems thatcould possibly go wrong, and several kilos ofhomemade energy bars were baked. And so, Saturday May 16 came, and we shoe-hornedourselves and the kit into Rods trusty Skoda Octavia(the ocial car of the Tour de France, dont you know)and headed to Cornwall. The sun shone the whole way.An early arrival at our Travelodge for the night meantplenty of time to prep the bikes and, more importantly,get to the gruelling task of calorie loading. The next day, an early start meant that after a short driveto Lands End and a quick photo on the start line, wheelswere rolling by 7.15am. With a favourable tail wind andno threat of rain, spirits were high. This was to be ourshortest day at 102 miles, but deliberately so. Given thenumber of hills in Devon and Cornwall, we were to domore climbing today than any other. While the scenerywas beautiful and the miles seemed to pass quickly, thesecond half of the day brought several punishing 10 percent gradient climbs. So as we rolled into Okehampton,another six days seemed very daunting.Waking up on Monday, we had our longest day aheadof us, and feeling the aching muscles as we got out ofbed didnt make the 147 miles seem any moreappealing. On a nice day, the rolling hills and quietcountry roads would have made for a great ride, butbeing soaked to the skin had a dampening eect. (Pun intended). On a long ride, regularly eating and drinking isessential to avoid bonking (a cycling term for hitting thewall. Really). Our support crew did a great job ofkeeping us topped up with energy bars and water, butsouth of Bristol and only just over halfway for the day,a well-needed pub lunch revitalised us. A couple ofhours later and we were crossing the Severn Bridgeinto Wales with a ferocious side wind threatening toblow us into the Severn estuary. The last thirty miles upto Ross-on-Wye through the Forrest of Dean on emptyroads were far better than I had imagined earlier in theday, but a post-9pm arrival meant dinner and a bedwere all we could think of.Day three. Having spent nearly 24hrs in the saddle overthe last two days, the expected aches and pains startedto kick in. The day passed slowly, with every mileseeming hard-earned. Arriving in St Helens, Tim wasthere to greet us and probably caught us all at ourlowest both physically and mentally. We werent evenhalf way yet.For the rst half of Wednesday, we had rain again andit was really cold. We met Val and Craig just north ofPreston, where a hot ask of tea and some dry warmclothes was all we needed. Following this, we madesteady progress further north. The same day brought our literal high point of thewhole trip in the Lake District with our long andwinding ascent to Shap summit. In good sprits, the rainhad stopped, the views were spectacular and we knewthere was a lot of downhill riding coming up. The nextgoalpost of crossing into Scotland soon followed andwe thought we had a fairly fast and at run up toLockerbie to end the day. However, a strong headwindand tired legs made the last 25 miles drag on foreverand it was another late nish. By James Wood and Rod Beardshall, clinic directors, Roundhay and GuiseleyA strong headwind and tired legsmade the last 25 miles drag onCharityDonation Days will provide 12 months of work for charity how are you spending yours? 29lin, rollin!FundOVER3,000RAISEDCharityWhite Cross Vets treat all school pets for free30Big wheels kOVER3,000RAISEDFundCharityUse your Ales to say thanks to team members who have gone the extra mile 31Day ve, and we awoke to nd the weather doing us nofavours again. It would appear the local council were alsoworking against us by providing us with fty miles of theworst quality tarmac I have ever ridden on. After severalhours of toil not only at half our usual pace but withdouble the impact on already tender rear ends, I think wewere all a bit delirious when we stopped for a bathroombreak. What followed was ten minutes of very mediocretarmac-based jokes and a disproportionate amount oflaughter, which worked wonders for team morale.Rolling on, we headed to the biggest city of the trip,Glasgow. Busy roads and lots of stop/start at traclights combined with Rod succumbing to a debilitatingcaeine overdose left us questioning whether wewould actually make it to the scheduled end point ofthe day. However, the day was saved by nding a cyclepath that ran from the centre of Glasgow all the way toLoch Lomond. This was the smoothest surface yet,and in our world of tarmac obsession, this qualied aspremium mac or conveyer belt mac which, non-biking people, is as good as it gets! The day ended at the top of a rather large hill north ofLoch Lomond, with our accommodation in Crainlarichproviding us with great hospitality and food, localmusic and our rst whisky in Scotland. Friday brought good roads and dramatic scenery.Cycling through Glencoe was a real experience withhuge cloud-topped mountains on all sides. We maderapid progress up to Fort William before entering theGreat Glen, which we would follow all the way to nearInverness. The soundtrack to the day was my textmessage alert that whistled at me every few minutesas I received about seventy messages from White Crosswell-wishers. Thank you very much for those, and Imsorry I didnt get the chance to reply individually!The sun was shining as we cycled the length of LochNess and reached our destination, a great B&B in Muirof Ord. For the rst time on the trip we had a few hoursspare to do some much-needed bike maintenance andput our feet up for an hour or two. Knowing we onlyhad one more day in the saddle felt great, especiallyconsidering we had left Lands End questioning whetherit would be possible to get this far!The rst half of Saturday was the best riding of thewhole journey and we had denitely saved the best tillast. There was blue sky, not a breath of wind andempty roads. I had never ventured this far north beforebut heading up through the middle of the Highlandsthrough open plains with snow-capped mountains onthe horizon it made us feel like we could have been inPatagonia. Fly-shermen waded in the River Naver aswe followed it all the way to the north coast, and withonly 50 miles to go, it felt like we were near the end. However, it turned out nearly there was a bit of wishfulthinking, as the coast road was constantly up and down.As we pedalled into John OGroats, we were all tired, wetand sore from seven long days in the saddle. However,there was a brief moment of celebration as we realisedwe didnt have to ride again tomorrow, and we took aquick photo to celebrate the nish. As the rain came down it was a quick change of clothes,loading of the bikes and a squeeze into the car for athree-hour drive back to Inverness, with a much-needed stop for sh and chips on the way. A couple of celebratory drinks and sharing of ourpersonal highs and lows brought an end to a great butgruelling seven days. We were really lucky to have justtwo punctures on the whole ride, but I think we allagreed we had underestimated the length of time wedbe in the saddle each day.Getting home the following day, there was a surprisegathering of all the people who made the weekpossible. There was Tim and his family, who hadinitially set the challenge, and our wives and families,who had been generous in their support, allowing us todisappear and leave all our responsibilities for a week. Special mention has to go to Val and Craig here, whodid an incredible role in support. They were always onhand to top us up with food and water, and evenwashed our kit for us. They tolerated our smelly kit inthe car which Val described as: Like going into thesurgery when thered been a tom cat in for neutering.You just get used to it after a while. We denitelycouldnt have done it without them!ep on turning keIt was tough, but we did it!CharityIntroduce a friend to White Cross Vets and you could receive up to 2,00032Converting phone ca The phone rings in the middle of a busy morningsurgery. Two clients are waiting at the desk and theother phone line is ringing. You pick up the phone,and your heart drops as you hear the words: I onlywant a bit of advice There are a number of reasons why clients may notwant to bring their pets into the surgery. But, believe itor not, it is not always about cost. First up, there is a lot of information on the internet andthe client almost certainly has the opinion of Dr Googleby the time theyve called the practice. This informationis so simple to obtain, its likely the client simply wantsus to conrm the treatment they have chosen is theright one. The second most common reason for not attending theclinic is the inconvenience of attending. Therefore, weneed to consider ways in which we can makeappointments as convenient as possible. Also, clientsmay be in denial about the severity of the problem orfearful of what the vet might nd, so are looking for usto tell them it is all ok on the phone, but this isdangerous as its unlikely to be true. The last reason for avoiding coming into the practice isthat clients fear their pet will be scared.So, even though we can all think of a few pets we wouldrather never see again, I believe we are doing them adisservice by providing clinical advice over the phone.How many times have I heard a client mutter: And itsnot like they can tell you what is wrong with them,which is true, but with enough experience and a goodclinical exam, it is amazing how much information wecan achieve. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment plansover the phone are so very risky, even for things theclient perceives as minor.Plus, the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct hassomething to say on this. As a pet has to be truly underour care to receive a diagnosis, and under our careincludes a recent clinical examination, advice on thephone can only be, at best, non-specic, and notinclude medication details. It is also clear the veterinary surgeon is responsible fora) any advice given by CCCs on the phone, and b)ensuring all team members are suitably trained. Inother words, advice given by a well-meaning teammember on reception could end up getting the vet infront of the disciplinary committee even if the vet knewnothing about it. Also, having a client and their pet in front of us opensup so many other conversations. How often do we seea pet for one condition and end up spending more timeon something the client had not even noticed? This is allpart of the service we provide during a consultation,and being thorough adds massive value to theexamination. So what should we do? Brian Faulkner told us he has trained his team toconvert every phone enquiry into an appointmentwithout exception, and I think he is - broadly - correct.As a general rule I would suggest we only oertelephone advice to clients a) we know well and b) withpets that have long-standing conditions. Everyone inthe team knows it is in the pets best interest to beseen, but there is a strong temptation to provide advicewhen you hear the emotion in the clients voice. What is the cost of phone advice? Putting the legal ramications to one side, the true costof giving advice on the phone cannot beunderestimated. Phone consults drain team resources,described aptly in one article as phone vampires. Forexample, time spent on the phone takes a teammembers attention for a signicant amount of time,and that time could have been spent dealing withclients in the clinic, answering an emergency phone callor dealing with an admitted sick pet. What cant be ignored either is the bottom line of whatwe do. We should ensure our clients pets get the bestcare and this, quite simply, cannot be done over thephone. Every visit into the practice allows us to build onthe bond, oer extra services and demonstrate theamazing service we give, providing that care. Askyourself, how many clients have ever said: Oh, youmust go that vets, they give great phone advice?I believe we are doingclients a disservice byproviding clinical adviceover the phoneBy James Harris, group clinical support managerQualityOver 15,000 has been raised for the White Cross Fund mainly through the practice teams 33 lls to consults...So what can we do about it?Give this a go:1. Know a list of keywords to identify emergencysymptoms (e.g. diculty breathing). Theseshould trigger an immediate appointment.2. Transfer enquiries to a vet nurse if the clientis not keen on making an appointment. 3. Ensure convenient appointment times.4. Reduce anxiety pets feel on visiting the practice.5. Praise clients for erring on the side of cautionand choosing medical peace of mind. In a recent secret shopper exercise to one of our practices, however,not a single advice-only call was turned into a consultation, which isnot something we can be proud about. To conclude, I would like to tell a short apocryphal talefrom last year. I took a call from a client in themorning wanting advice as her Rottweiler was a bito it and not as keen on walks recently. The clientwanted to know which joint supplements werecommended as she had been on the internet anddecided her nine-year-old dog had arthritis. We had achat and she eventually agreed to bring the dog in. To cut a long story short, I nished the surgery on theRottweilers ruptured spleen at 9pm and she wasback to attacking me the next dayQualityWhite Cross Vets sponsors over 20 sports and community groups and teams34fancypants air con) for at least an hour. Eventually, thevet on duty called him in, and asked what she coulddo for him, whilst looking around to see where his petwas. Mr X then proceeded to plonk a carrier bag onthe examination table. At this point, images of a sadlydeceased small pet ashed through our collectiveminds. But, no what he then lifted out of the carrierbag, was in fact a defrosted frozen chicken, he wasseeking a veterinary opinion on whether or not thechicken was o! If it wasnt before he set foot in thesweltering waiting room, it certainly was now!Another client came in asking for a repeat prescriptionof phenobarbitone. It appeared that a vet had notseen the dog for over a year. She was politelyinformed that one of the vets would need to see Rexagain, before any more phenobarbitone could beprescribed. Oh, I cant do that, he has ts. Thats why Ineed the tablets!. It was explained why he would needto be examined, and various options oered to makethe experience less stressful for Rex. Later that day, Mrs Y was called in to the consultingroom. She explained to the vet that she had been toldthat we would need to see Rex before she could haveany more medication. Looking around, the vet asked ifRex was outside. No love, I cant bring him with me. Hehas ts. But, Ive got some photos of him, so you can seehim and proceeded to show the vet and me acollection of photographs capturing Rexs life frompuppyhood to the present day. I think we would all agree, that theprofession in which we work,although rewarding, can bestressful and often emotionallydraining. Which is why it is vitalthat we have some light relief toalleviate that stress.Now, gone are the days when you could have a quickslug of sherry in between consults (apparently, its nolonger regarded as professional!), so we have to ndother ways to relieve the tension. The camaraderiebetween team members is a good place to start. I losecount of how many times a day that I laugh with myworkies, sometimes to the point of hysteria. My rstboss hated the sound of nurses laughing, he assumedthat we couldnt possibly be working if we were alsolaughing. That man didnt understand multi-tasking.That man was a fool!Another great source of humour of course, comesfrom the clients. Often inadvertently. So, I thought Idshare some of the funny stories that have happenedduring the course of my veterinary journey.The rst practice that I worked at, ran by an opensurgery system. This, in itself, was madness. You cantprepare for open surgeries. You can be open forconsulting between 4 and 7pm, and the pet owningpublic would think just got home from work, the doglooks a bit peaky. Oh well, the vets are open til 7. Time for ashower, my tea, a pint, a couple of episodes of banal soapopera, then go to the vets. The world, his mother, hisdog, his cat, their eas, a parrot, a pet fox called Vicky*(*true story!), a breeder with 12 pups for 1stvaccination, could all turn up at 6.55pm. Utter chaos!Anyway, on this one particularly busy afternoon in themiddle of summer, a registered client arrived,informed reception of his name and address. Hisrecord card (before computers) was located, and putat the back of a very large pile of record cards. Mr Xsat in that stiingly hot waiting room (beforeLaughterthe very best medicineBy Vicky Neild, head nurse, Kings Heath (from this moment on known as the Bard of the Heath)Fun#19 in the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For 2015 35There were some cracking ones of him playing ball with hisdog buddy, Bob. This consultation could only have beenimproved if we had had a slideshow and some snacks!One of my all time favourite clientisms though, was when Iwas registering a new client. We managed to get through hisdetails without a hitch. Taking the pets details was a bitmore problematic. We established that the dog was calledHamish and that he was a West Highland White Terrier. Sofar, so good. I gured out the colour all by myself (two yearsof veterinary nurse training paid o then!), And how old isHamish? I enquired. In dog years? came the anxiousresponse. Human years will be ne, kicking myselffor saying human years, how did I get drawninto this nonsense? Im fairly intelligent, Iknow that a year is the length of time it takesthe earth to orbit around the sun, irrespectiveof humans, dogs or even ferrets beinginvolved! Anyway, I had clearly andinadvertently caused a great deal of panic inMr Z, who was now just throwing numbers atme down the phone erm, he might be,hang on, 47. Oh, Im not sure., ok, even if youjust tell me what year he was born in, thatll bene I said, trying to calm him down. This wasto no avail, as he said hed have to speak tohis wife and get back to me, and promptlyhung up! (Turns out, Hamish was 6 and ahalf years old, so he wasnt too far o with hisanswer of 46!)Other tales of bonkersness include the clientswho turned up in time for their 4pmappointment, but neither of them hadremembered to bring the puppy with them!And we all must have stories of themedication that doesnt seem to be workingbecause the clients havent actually used it.The ea treatment that we sold last week thatcost a fortune that clearly isnt eective. Turnsout that it tends not to be, unless youadminister it to the pet. Putting it in thekitchen cupboard just doesnt kill those peskyeas. Who knew?! All in all, I love these interactions with clients,theres always something that theyve said ordone that puts a little smile on my face. So thatcant be a bad thing, eh? And Im pretty sure, ifyouve got any similar stories, Justin would loveto hear about them. Share the joy, I say!FunThe White Cross Vets T-Shirt has been on its global travels again. Here are some of the places it has been photographed.The Travelling T-Shirt!Watching the Orlando MagicRob Reid in Mayrhofen, AustriaWill Newbury in the Indian HimalayasJustin Phillips winning theNAVC Elanco 5k Run, OrlandoMarina Saddler in CarriacouRun or Dye Liverpool withthe West Derby TeamAmericas Veterinarian - Dr Marty BeckerMagic Kingdom - OrlandoNishi Jani, Orlando, Pearson in SnowdoniaPenny Lott and Andymaking curtansBSAVA in BirminghamFund