Well, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride recently for all of us at Camlas Petcare with the addition of several extra team members and some speedy building work to expand the number of consulting rooms. Now the dust is settling we thought we'd sit back, take stock and update our super clients with news of all our changes. For our long-standing clients, this is an opportunity to say thank you for your patience whilst we adapted the building, and we hope this blog helps to explain where the practice is going. For our newcomers, welcome! We want you to be able to get a feel for who we are and what we stand for.
Camlas was originally a family business mixed practice, but since 2013 we’ve been Camlas Petcare, intent on giving high-quality care to pets throughout the local area. We now tend to think of ourselves as the local “family-friendly” practice (for example, Anna’s father still does the hanging baskets out the front), but our emphasis on excellence of care is unchanged - and in fact, we’re building on it!
Our focus is less on “toys” (expensive diagnostic or surgical equipment, although we do have quite a lot of it!) than it is on expertise amongst the team. Our senior vet, Anna Judson, this year has celebrated thirty years of experience as a practising vet, and has pretty much seen it all! All the rest of our vets have or are working towards Advanced Practitioner Status - a masters-level additional advanced qualification in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. Gemma is an Advanced Practitioner in Surgery, especially soft tissue surgery (i.e. everything except bones and joints); is currently enjoying her new baby on maternity leave. Gemma is complemented by Louise, whose extra qualification is in Medicine. Our fourth vet, Ceri, is currently working on her Advanced qualifications, but hasn’t yet decided what area to focus on! We’re also lucky to have Mark Overend, our visiting Cardiologist (heart vet) for two days a week, as well as two visiting experts. David Crossley is an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry (a very rare qualification!), and we have a visiting Advanced Practitioner in Orthopaedic Surgery as well.
Of course, our vets are only one side of the story - we are lucky to have four Veterinary Nurses; Liz, Heather, Shelley, and Michelle, who are professionals Registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Like the vets, our nurses all have particular fields of interest… Lizzie has just completed the BVNA oral care certificate, and she is also the first point of call for all pet insurance claims and has many years of experience with these ever more complicated documents! Heather, meanwhile, has a particular interest in counselling and she is taking the lead in how we manage 'end of life' services to our pet companions. Shelley’s special interest is in preventative health, and she has extra qualifications in skin care (the BSAVA Dermatology Merit Award) and to allow her to prescribe certain medications for pets (C-SQP). Our new nurse Michelle also brings this C-SQP qualification from her last practice, plus she has a particular interest in nurse consults so expect to see her in the consulting room occasionally. As with our vets, we’re really keen on our nursing staff developing their skills!
And then there are our wonderful reception staff - the brilliant Sylvia and Alison. Sylvia has been here 17 years and is a kindly familiar face to all, whereas Alison is newly arrived and has been thrown in at the deep end during an exceptionally busy spell! However, she’s come out smiling and brings a wealth of life and customer care skills and is enjoying getting to know everyone. They’re both really interested in a new Veterinary Receptionist qualification that’s being set up at the moment, so “watch this space”! We are also delighted to announce that Jodi, a familiar face on reception, has been promoted to Client Care Manager whilst Michelle who has carried out every role in the practice and is well versed in all aspects of the practice is now fully our Accounts Manager.
We are incredibly lucky in our staff - across the board, there are very few GP vets practices which can offer the experience, expertise and levels of qualification that we have in our team. As the “cherry on the cake” we’ve recently passed the Royal College’s General Practice Practice Standards Scheme with flying colours!
The practice was purpose built in 2000, but already we’re having to do some redevelopment - we’re currently converting a storage room into a fourth consulting room, to make room for Mark and his super cardiology heart scanner! However, the bulk of the practice is “backstage”, and so you might not realise that we have a full surgical suite (prep room, operating theatre and dedicated dental theatre), a laboratory and an imaging suite (for X-rays and ultrasounds which we do in-house). Unlike most practices, we even have a dedicated dental X-ray machine, as well as our main digital system - this means that we can do much more sensitive and accurate dental procedures, as we can examine the teeth, jaws and tooth roots, and see the results within seconds.
We think it’s really important that in any emergency, the vet you see knows your animal and has access to their full history. For that reason, we do not use an “out of hours provider”, but instead cover our own night-duties - we always have a vet and a nurse on duty to respond to any emergencies or sudden illnesses outside of normal office hours. The main practice telephone number will always put you through to a person to take your call 24 hours a day (no answerphones). We can also offer home visits - however, most of the time it’s actually better, if possible, to see the patient in the practice, as all the medications, equipment and support staff are here in case we need them.
The bottom line is that in this area we are unique - we’re independent (not owned by a big corporation), we focus exclusively on pets, and we’re building a team of real experts in different aspects of veterinary care. We’re proud of what we are, and we’re proud you’ve joined us!