Veterinary Care Sector | Key Safety Procedures
To ensure veterinary care and services plays its part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 the following can be implemented:
- Ask all pet owners to call the practice in advance before arranging a visit.
- Keep pet owners up to date with the practice measures, this can be done through social media channels, phone or direct through the post.
- Place clear notices at entrances to remind visitors of the practice measures.
- Ensure that the number of clients seen face to face are kept to an absolute minimum.
- Use of the telephone, video calls to obtain a history of the animal or to consult remotely.
- Payment can be obtained over the phone or by BACS.
- Following a remote assessment if it is deemed necessary that a pet will require physical treatment, then staffing levels should be kept to a minimum when the pet arrives.
- Consider installing a pickup box located outside the practice for pre-arranged medicine collection, prescription or any other items.
Manage Social Distancing
- Ensure where practicable that all external practice doors are always kept closed/locked.
- Pet owners should make the practice aware when they have arrived, this can be done by phone or ringing the doorbell.
- Pets can be collected from outdoors.
- Where it is possible, pet owners should remain outside whilst the pet is being examined.
- Consider having a telephone conversation with the pet owner whilst examining the pet.
- Consider organising a home visit.
- Once the examination has been complete, treatment plans can be discussed and agreed over the phone.
- Where you need to refer a pet to a hospital/centre, discuss the hospital/centres measures with them in advance prior to arrangements with the pet owner regarding transporting the pet either by the owner or the practice.
- Medication can be posted, providing you follow the ‘post office’s’ guidance and where applicable follow the RCVS for controlled drugs guidance.
- Arrange for clients to arrive when it is the quietest time of the day.
Good Hygiene Practices
- Ensure that suitable protective clothing such as disposal gloves, apron or overalls are used.
- After consultation, adhere to cleaning, disinfection procedures of surfaces and equipment only using ‘virucidal’ products.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, do this for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available.
- Wash your hands as soon as you get homes.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Managing Practice Resources
- Do not stockpile medicines.
- Ensure supplies of essential medicines, including oxygen and analgesia are preserved.
- If possible, split the team to minimize disruption due to employees self-isolating.
- Where possible, see if other local practices are willing to share resources and rotas.
- It is worth considering staggering breaks in between shifts.
Face to Face Consultation
The following definitions may help with the decision-making process when deciding if a face to face consultation is needed:
Emergency –Immediate threat to life, significant impact on welfare/health and/or likely to deteriorate if left untreated.
Urgent –Significant impact on welfare/health but currently stable or will have a moderate impact but significant risk of deterioration.
Non-Urgent/Routine –Minor impact on welfare/health and unlikely to deteriorate.
Speak to our team of Health and Safety Consultants for helpful advice surrounding Covid-19 for your veterinary practice.