A COMMON question that we are being asked is how the human coronavirus pandemic is affecting the way in which we provide our referral service.

There are numerous challenges with the situation we are all in and our top priorities are to continue to ensure the welfare of our patients, as well as our staff and clients.

In line with the advice from the government and our regulatory body we are continuing to see patients with urgent or life-threatening conditions, problems causing a welfare issue for the animal, and patients that are likely to deteriorate to this stage if not treated soon.

We are currently operating a rota system for our key clinical staff.

This means that all of our departments are still running but staff contact is minimised as much as possible.

Our support and administration teams are working from home.

Rest assured that we are able to provide 24/7 advice to our referring practices and clients as usual.

If your pet has been referred to us, then there are also changes in how this will work.

The initial referral appointment is likely to be over the phone or by a video consultation.

If your animal requires a physical examination then we will collect them from you in the car park, perform the examination and then phone you to discuss a plan.

This may result in admission to the hospital for medical treatment or surgery to be performed.

Full details can be found on our Facebook page.

It is important that we conserve the equipment we have for emergencies as well as responsibly reducing our use of key consumables to ensure that the NHS receives as much as possible.

We have already given away some consumables to local medical practices and, because of the high specification of our hospital, we have some machines (such as those with ventilation capability) that have been audited in case they are required by the NHS.

Whilst we are all in a challenging time, our take home message is if your pet urgently needs us, we are still here for them.