Pet Health Scheme Rules





The Pal For Life Scheme is a membership scheme providing free treatment and vaccination plus a range of discounts for members. There are three levels of membership, Critical Care, Classic Care and Complete Care which provide differing levels of cover. A list of the benefits of the Scheme can be found on our Practice leaflets and Membership Booklet.


Classic Care and Complete Care. Each animal joining will be given a veterinary examination to ensure that it is healthy. Animals showing an existing abnormal condition or disease at this time will not be able to join the full Scheme until that condition has been resolved. Such an animal may, however, join the Critical Care part of the Scheme. Once the condition is clear, and following another veterinary examination, the animal may then be allowed to transfer to Classic Care or Complete Care. In some rare circumstances an animal may be allowed to join but the with the existing condition excluded from cover.

Critical care. Designed specifically for those animals that are not eligible for the other parts of the Scheme because of their age or health status. Each animal will also receive a veterinary examination before entry.

It is sometimes possible for members to change the membership category of their pet. Animals may move to a category with fewer benefits at any time. Movement to a category with greater benefits must follow a veterinary examination and can only take place if the animal is healthy and not undergoing treatment.


All dogs, cats and rabbits must have been fully vaccinated at or before joining the Pal For Life health scheme and must receive all the recommended booster vaccinations. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and leptospirosis. Cats must be vaccinated against the 'flu viruses, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia. Rabbits must be vaccinated against myxomatosis and virus haemorrhagic disease. Additional vaccinations needed because an animal was presented late for its booster will be charged in full.


Membership is for a minimum of six months. Subscriptions may be made by monthly direct debit or by an annual payment at the beginning of each year of cover. Membership will cover a period of one year from the first day of the month in which the subscription is first paid. Monthly subscriptions must be paid by direct debit from a suitable bank account.

If an annual renewal subscription is not paid within one month of the date due the cover will lapse. If a monthly subscription is cancelled or payment is not made for any other reason then the cover will lapse immediately. If cover lapses the animal will require a fresh examination before being re-admitted to the Scheme.

The amount payable will be the rate applicable on the renewal date (or on the date paid if this is later). If during the year there is no need to make use of the Scheme (apart from the annual booster vaccination and non-medical counter purchases) then the renewal subscription will be reduced by 10%, provided it is paid on time.

Additional animals belonging to the same owner can be included at a reduced rate.

Subscriptions will be adjusted from time to time to take account of changing conditions and inflation. However, the animal will remain on the same grade of subscription for life as long as subscriptions are always up to date.

If an animal leaves the Scheme (or the subscription lapses) after less than six month's membership, the full cost of any free vaccinations given and any referral or out-of-hours fees refunded will immediately become payable. Where an animal has left and later rejoins the Scheme, the new subscription grade will be that applicable to its age and health status at the time, which may be different from the one previously used.

Extent of cover

The amount of cover is specified in the Schedule of Benefits.

Discounts will only be given when payment for goods or services is made on the same day on which they are supplied. Surgical treatment for congenital abnormalities (for example, retained testicles, umbilical hernia, entropion of the eyelids or airway abnormalities) is only covered at the normal level of discount (i.e. 20% or 30%).

Apart from two specific exceptions treatment under the Scheme is only available from one of Orchard Veterinary Centre’s surgeries. The two exceptions are:

1. Out of hours emergency treatment. In the event of a genuine emergency, where it is not reasonable to wait till the surgery opens, treatment out of normal hours will be available from the Vets Now Emergency Clinic, Oldbury. Cover will not be given for:

  • out of hours treatment at any other centre.
  • any procedure which could reasonably wait until The Orchard Veterinary Centre is open.
  • where the subscription is not up to date on the day of the emergency treatment.
  • medicines dispensed by the Clinic.
  • the first £150 of fees for each visit.

2. Specialist referral treatment. This  cover is only available with the Complete Care plan. Cover for treatment at an established veterinary specialist referral centre will only apply where such treatment is arranged by The Orchard Veterinary Centre and is considered essential (i.e. not elective) by the attending veterinary surgeon. Cover does not include alternative therapies (e.g. homeopathy, acupuncture), physiotherapy or hydrotherapy at another centre, any medicines dispensed by the referral centre, nor the first £150 of any claim. Referral cover is only provided for cats, dogs and rabbits.

The total value of treatment at other centres covered under the Scheme will be limited to the maximum shown on the Schedule of Benefits. Fees due to the Emergency or Referral Clinic must first be paid direct by the client and all invoices and receipts preserved. A claim form will then be supplied on request.


Treatment under the Scheme is available by appointment at any of our surgeries during the normal opening times. Normal hours are 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on weekdays, excluding national holidays and 8.30 am. to 1.30 p.m. on Saturday. Except as specified above, treatments given outside these hours or treatments at any other veterinary centre are not covered. The cost of a home visits is not covered by the Scheme.

Breeding cover

Treatment for conditions related to breeding is not covered. The Scheme does, however, include discounts for treatment to prevent breeding, for example neutering or anti-season injections.

Termination of membership

Membership of the Scheme may be terminated at any time by either the owner or the Practice. In the event of such termination, for instance if the animal dies, where an annual subscription was paid, a refund will be made as follows: one twelfth of the last subscription paid for each complete calendar month before the next renewal date.



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.


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