Terms And Conditions Of Business

Thank you for entrusting the care and attention of your pet to the Orchard Veterinary Centre. We aim to provide a high level of care to our patients and of service to our clients. The following paragraphs set out the terms which enable us to do this.

Fees

All fees, diets and drug charges are subject to VAT at the current rate. Fee levels are determined by the time spent on a case and according to the drugs, materials, consumables and diets used. There is normally a consultation or treatment fee every time you or your animal spends time with one of our veterinary or nursing staff. Our written fee list is available on request. The price of all medicines supplied by us includes a dispensing fee. You will receive an itemised bill for every consultation, surgical procedure or transaction with us.

We will happily provide an estimate as to the probable costs of a course of treatment. Please bear in mind that any estimate given can only be approximate—often a pet’s illness will not follow a conventional course. Complications or unforeseen circumstances may result in additional costs which, if they arise, will be added to our charges.

Fees quoted in these Terms and Conditions are for your guidance only and were correct at the time of printing. They are subject to change without notice.

Payment

Accounts are due for settlement at the end of the consultation, at the discharge of your pet or upon collection of drugs or diets. If you are a new client with no credit history with the Practice, you may be asked to settle the expected cost of treatment prior to the course of treatment commencing. You may settle the account using cash or credit/debit card. Members of the Orchard Pal for Life Scheme may also pay their subscriptions by direct debit. Cheques may not be accepted but, where they are, an additional fee may be charged to cover the cost of guaranteeing the payment. Any payment received from clients is paid off the oldest invoices first.

Should an account not be settled at the time, we may apply both statutory interest and collection costs in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998 and Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulation Act 2002. A reminder will be sent with an additional accounting fee in respect of administrative costs incurred. Should it be necessary for further reminders to be sent, additional charges will be incurred. These however, may be deducted if payment is made promptly.

If after several requests your bill still remains unpaid and you have not made satisfactory arrangements to pay, the debt will be referred to the courts for recovery. In this case further charges will be levied in respect of costs incurred in collecting the debt, such as production of reports, correspondence, court fees, interest, attendance at court, phone calls, home visits, etc.

Any cheque returned by our bank as unpaid, any card payment not honoured and any cash tendered that is found to be counterfeit will result in the account being restored to the original sum with further charges added in respect of bank charges and administrative costs together with interest on the principal sum.

If, for any reason, you are unable to settle your account as specified, we ask you to discuss the matter as soon as possible with a member of staff.

Communicating with the Practice

We are normally available for appointments and advice during the hours which are published at each of our surgeries. These hours may vary from time to time, for instance on public holidays. Clients will normally arrange an appointment to see one of our veterinary surgeons.

You may contact the Practice by telephone, fax, post, email or by visiting in person. There are also a number of forms and other methods to interact with us on our web site.

Please note that, for reasons of security, quality of service and staff training, telephone calls may be monitored or recorded. Recordings may also be made in sound and vision of conversations which take place between our staff and members of the public in the consulting room or at reception.

Our service includes contacting pet owners about their animals from time to time. It is vital that we are able to communicate with you on important health matters concerning your pet, for instance to give you test results or to discuss changes in your pet’s health or treatment. To be a client you must provide us with your full name, address and contact details and agree that we can contact you in this way. Without these contacts we are unable to provide the high standard of service that we consider necessary.

We may also want to contact you for other reasons and for these contacts you can choose whether and how we get in touch with you. Please see our Privacy Notice for further details.

Emergencies and treatment out of normal hours

Where a pet needs urgent attention please ring our main number immediately. In normal hours we will ask you to attend the surgery with the animal as soon as possible.

If treatment is needed urgently outside normal hours you will be referred to the Vets Now emergency clinic. The emergency clinic, which is situated in Wolverhampton Road, Oldbury, is an independent veterinary practice and has its own set of fees. Out of hours fees are usually much higher than our normal daytime fees and are payable at the time of treatment. You should expect to pay at least £200 for a consultation plus the cost of medication or procedures. Clients with animals on our Health Scheme may be able to claim some of these fees back.

We may sometimes arrange to hospitalise patients over night at our surgery. In these cases animals will not be attended at all times when the surgery is closed, but will be checked by a member of staff according to the animal's clinical needs.

Pet Health Scheme and pet insurance

The Orchard Veterinary Centre strongly supports the principle of insuring your pet against unexpected illness or accidents. We particularly advise that eligible pets join the Pal For Life club, our Pet Health Scheme (which is a membership scheme, a superior alternative to insurance). Please ask for details about the Health Scheme or insurance from any member of staff.

Please be aware that for insured animals it is your responsibility to settle our account and then reclaim the fees from your Insurance Company. We do not accept direct payments from insurance companies. A charge is made to complete insurance claim forms; we can only complete these forms for services and treatments that we have given.

Records

All case records and documents relating to animals we have dealt with are the property of, and will be retained by, The Orchard Veterinary Centre. Copies with a summary of the history will be passed on request to another veterinary surgeon taking over the case. In line with data protection rules, written consent is required for this service and a fee may be payable by the client.

The care given to your animal may involve making some specific investigations, for example taking radiographs (x-rays) or performing ultrasound scans. Even though we make a charge for carrying out these investigations and interpreting their results, ownership of the resulting record, for example a radiograph, remains with the practice.

Some personal information, such as your name and contact details, will be kept in our records. For details of how we store, use and protect this information please read our Privacy Notice.

Images

In addition to radiographs and ultrasound scans, photographic images of clients, patients and lesions may be obtained. These images may be used for veterinary or public education, or for the promotion of the practice. All images may be used in both printed and electronic media. Recordings of sound or vision of client contact with our staff may also be obtained. All rights to the use of any of the images or recordings remain with the Practice.

House visits

Most of the treatments are provided at our surgeries because that is where we have the equipment, medications and staff needed to perform our work to a satisfactory standard. Occasionally we are requested to visit an animal at home. We will only be able to comply with such a request where the problem is one which we believe can be satisfactorily dealt with away from the surgery and we have the staff available. Clients should be aware that it is sometimes impossible to examine or treat an animal at home and the costs of doing so are considerably higher than treatment at the surgery. Emergencies and out-of-hours treatments cannot always be dealt with at a home visit.

Drugs and medicines

Supply of medicines. Normally, we are able to supply all necessary drugs to our clients from our extensive pharmacy. Alternatively, drugs may be obtained through a prescription at any pharmacist who stocks the appropriate veterinary licensed medication. We require at least two normal working day's notice for the issue of prescriptions or medicines. Purchasing medications from us helps us to keep our overall prices down.

Prescriptions. We will only complete and supply prescriptions generated by our computer system and a fee will be charged for this service. Under UK law the prescription must be presented to a registered pharmacist, who will make a separate charge to cover the costs of the medication, his dispensing fee and his profit. Substitution of non-licensed medications or human licensed medications for veterinary licensed ones is illegal. We will not accept responsibility for any medicines not dispensed from our pharmacy as we have no control over any other pharmacy. Prescriptions issued by Orchard Veterinary Centre are normally sent directly to the pharmacy chosen by the client and can only be supplied once the name and address of the pharmacy and any reference details have been provided to us.

Disposal of medicines. No pharmacy, including ours, can give refunds for any medicines once purchased. We can however take medicines back for safe disposal, but only if they have been dispensed from our pharmacy.

Long-term medication. If your pet requires regular medication for a long-standing condition current law and RCVS rules require us to re-examine the animal at regular intervals to monitor the condition and the effects of medication. This interval may vary with different cases but will not normally be greater than three months. There is a standard re-examination fee for each of these visits (except for animals on our Health Scheme). We are unable to prescribe supplies of drugs for an animal which has not been examined by us in the previous three months or where the minimum interval of the case has been exceeded.

Parasite medicines. Prescription drugs required for control of parasites (such as fleas) can only be prescribed for animals that have been examined by one of our veterinary surgeons within the last twelve months.

Complaints and standards

We hope that you never have recourse to complain about the standards of service received from the Orchard Veterinary Centre. However, if you feel that there is something you wish to complain about, please direct your comments in the first instance to The Practice Manager.

No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the practice unless it is specifically agreed in writing and signed by the Practice principal. No agent or person employed by, or under contract with, the practice has the authority to alter or vary these conditions in any way.

February 2020

Orchard Veterinary Centre Ltd 410 Birchfield Lane, Oldbury, West Midlands. B69 1AD Registered in England, No. 08478895