We are celebrating, having been announced as ‘Best Welsh Vet’ in the 2021 UK Best Vet awards.
The competition is judged on the number of positive reviews received via the Vet Help Direct review website.
Over 150 clients shared their experiences of contact with the practice, describing their visits, and detailing how they and their animals were treated.
The feedback was very gratefully received by all our team.
2020 was an exceptionally difficult year and it required everyone at Hay Vets to work in new ways.
In March we were forced to close our doors to clients. We asked them to trust us with their animals while they waited outside and animals came indoors for their treatment.
At times Coronavirus restrictions meant that most of our team were forced to stay at home. We split into 3 small clinical teams, one holding the fort while the others worked from home or rested.
We wanted to ensure there was no chance that the practice could be shut altogether, due to everyone having to self-isolate.
In the first weeks of lockdown, we were obliged to see only emergencies. Everyone’s emotions were heightened by the new restrictions on our lives and at times it felt like every case was gravely ill. Our patients were frightened by our plastic aprons and face coverings. When difficult discussions were called for, it was hard to communicate from behind a mask and visor.
Often our contact with clients could only be via phone and email. Sometimes video consultations needed owners to practice their camera-skills while persuading a shy pet to demonstrate their lameness during walks or on their driveway. Often children home from school were roped into making the technology work effectively!
In the practice, everything seemed to take twice the time it should because we couldn’t work together as one big team as usual.
The start of lockdown #1 coincided with the busiest time for lambing and calving – there was lots of work to be done. As people spent more time out walking, their dogs got into all sorts of scrapes which meant they needed our attention.
And then as the weeks went by the new puppies started to arrive. So many puppies! They were a real highlight during those long and busy days.
Lockdowns came and went, and we were able to return to more normal ways of working. Those staff who had been furloughed were welcomed back, which was a massive relief to us all. We could keep pace better with emergencies and catch up on the work that we had needed to postpone.
The variation in rules between England and Wales posed a variety of issues; as one nation was locked down, across the border restrictions would be eased in. Our ambulatory vets were occasionally challenged to justify their travel when visiting patients on farms or stable yards.
The last year has been a rollercoaster for us, just like the rest of the world. We have felt very lucky that (mostly) we have all been able to come to work.
Having that structure in our lives, and being with colleagues (even while socially distanced and wearing PPE), has helped us all. We have been touched by our clients’ gratitude for the work we have done.
The award really was the icing on the cake – a lovely surprise which recognised every single team member’s dedication to their work.