Karl and the SLVC Team in ‘Corona Capers’ Episode 1

Hello out there! I just thought I’d fill you in on the SLVC teams’ take on lockdown, social distancing and working in the Covid-19 situation as a whole. I’ve called it “Corona Capers”, rather wittily I think, because although “Corona Calamities” sounded just as catchy (definitely no pun intended!) we simply don’t entertain calamities of any kind at our surgery – we’re too awesome for that! Episode One refers to the fact that I think there will be more adaptations to come in the months ahead; but more on that later in the blog. I always feel that a little humour never goes amiss, especially in clinical settings, and right now my somewhat off-beat sense of humour is what’s seeing me through these mentally challenging times. On a serious (human) note; remember that it is okay not to be OK, so please ask for support if you need it during this extraordinary situation.

The emergence of Coronavirus meant that essential health providers quickly had to adapt their way of working – they couldn’t just stop treating those in need of care and treatment, and us Veterinarians were no different.

At Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre we had to reduce the amount of team members physically on the premises, so our first solution was to have myself and two Veterinary Nurses working within the practice. We soon realised that this wasn’t enough so a third Vet Nurse was un-furloughed, which improved our working load, but it still wasn’t running quite how I wanted it to be. Even in these unique times, the perfectionist in me is still demanding that things be the best they can be! We have now got two Veterinarians and four Veterinary Nurses working, and this means we can stay within the governments’ distancing guidelines but still deliver great standards of service. The atmosphere is easy going whilst we’re working hard, but the other members of the SLVC team are sorely missed – we love you guys! 🙂

However odd it is for us, it must be really weird for you, our valued clients; normally you get a warm welcome as you come through the surgery entry doors, but sadly you’re not even allowed that far currently. Instead you’re calling us when you arrive on site – and it is lovely to hear your voices – and staying in your cars whilst we come out to collect your pet, donning the oh-so-stylish (*yawn*, boring!)PPE if needed. Actually, maybe I could have a little side-hustle, designing dapper PPE for Veterinarians – what d’ya think?!

For many of you, leaving your pet with us, alone in the consultation room is a bit stressful and upsetting, so let me reassure you by saying that your furry family members have been complete superstars so far :-). The anxiety you may be feeling isn’t rubbing off on them which, as a pet owner myself, is nice to know; I’m not immune to feeling stressed when any of my fur-babies have to be treated by a colleague.

In these crazy times the animals are what keep me going (and I am going to include my son, Jesse, in this category as we are MOST definitely getting into mischief territory now!) but I can’t begin to tell you how much I am missing the personal side of being a Veterinarian. I always say how valued our clients at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre are, and it’s true; we regard you all as friends and your pets are an extended fur family to us all, collectively. I’m finding the temporary loss of a high-five, fist bump or handshake hard, but to know I can’t provide a hug of comfort to someone who has just lost their best furry buddy is excruciatingly hard. Having lost beloved pets myself, I know how keenly their loss is felt and being robbed of the ability to provide that most basic thing, touch, by a microscopic entity isn’t half making me feel cross/sad/helpless – sometimes all at the same time!

Please know that the whole SLVC team and I are still right there with you, even though we can’t express it in our usual way.

Not wanting to be a ‘David Downer’, the ‘Robbie Realist’ in me is expecting that normal ‘pre-Covid’ service won’t be 100% achievable for the next twelve months at least – and this is a really bitter pill to swallow, I have to say. The one thing I am grateful for is the fact that Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre is an independent Veterinary practice, and I think that this autonomy could well stand us in good stead in times to come. Our independence means that there’s less in-house bureaucracy to deal with; we can respond much quicker to business needs, whether that’s staffing levels or equipment stocks – and flexibility and adaptability will be much needed in the months ahead.

To end on a positive, I want to say a massive, heartfelt “Thank You” to all our wonderful clients – you really are the best! Thank you all for your understanding and continued support, it means the world to us all; we will get through this challenging episode, of that I have no doubt.

Until next time; stay safe (at home), stay well, and be happy 🙂