Fido doesn’t have to wait for an appointment

Scared Dog Cartoon HD Stock Images | ShutterstockIf your dog is sick, how long does it wait to see the Vet?

Last time I had a sick dog, I phoned the vet and was told “bring him in this afternoon”.

I had just come out of hospital, and as the Receptionist fussed over him, I thought how I would have liked a touch of the same TLC.  During the consultation, the Vet told me ” I need to take a blood test” and I groaned.

Whilst in hospital, it had taken 18 hours of painful jabs before nurses managed to get blood out of my shell-shocked veins.  I came out looking like a junkie, with bruises up and down my arm.  How on earth would the Vet manage?

There was a click as he dropped a blood-filled syringe into the dish.  “All done”, he said, as my dog wagged its tail.  “How did you manage that?” I gasped, relating what I had experienced in hospital .

“Ah” said the vet, “you have to remember if we don’t do this correctly, our patients bite”.

Point taken. So next time …….

I was reminded of this, reading Prof. Meirion Thomas’s article “Vets serve pets better than GPs do” in the Daily Telegraph.  Yes, there is supposedly a shortage of Vets, but if you have a sick dog, would you meekly accept a Receptionist telling youMr J Meirion Thomas “first appointment I can offer is in 3 week’s time”?

No – if we were told this when we phoned a Vet’s surgery, we would be up in arms on behalf of our pet,  Yet we meekly accept it for ourselves.  When Prof. Thomas, a Consultant Surgeon, talks about “fortress surgeries”, I know exactly what he means.  If I phone the Vets for an appointment, one of the girls talks cheerfully, asks how the dogs are, and sounds totally sympathetic when I say one is sick.

Phoning my GP, the Receptionist is totally disinterested, and when offering me a long-distant appointment, this is done with a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ attitude.  Of course I have to pay up front to see the Vet (£25 for a puppy check, £45 for a consultation for my dogs), but we all pay for the NHS – and apparently our GPs are the third-highest paid in in the world (average £100,000 pa) after USA and Germany.

As Prof. Thomas writes, “despite valiant efforts of some GPs … they have been severly criticised for their performance during the pandemic”.  Come to think of it, one hasn’t heard of any Vets insisting on telephone appointments – Fido wouldn’t stand for that!

Perhaps because we have to pay for Fido to see his Vet it makes for better service.  If we aren’t happy we can complain to the Receptionist.  Yet when we go into our GP’s surgery, can you imagine complaining to Fortress Reception, lined up behind the Surgery desk, ready to repel boarders?  I think not.

When I was a teenager one of my boyfriends had an eminent Vet for a father.  He looked after The Queen’s horses, and was often called abroad to examine famous racehorses.  When I was not feeling too good, I frequently asked his advice, and remember him once saying “this works for Bovine Mastitis, so it should work for you”.  I knew I was in good hands as Liverpool General Hospital called him in whenever they had a case of Anthrax amongst farmhands.

So, next time I am told “the doctor can’t see you until…..” I shall seriously consider if it would be a good idea to speed things up and make an appointment with the local Vet.