Charter of service
The ‘Astonlee Charter’ sets out our promise to you. It is constantly updated as we listen to your views on what you are seeking from us for your pets. Established in 1986 we have always been at the vanguard of clinical excellence, and we promise to maintain this excellence for you. We care, and we know that you do too. The many services which we provide are founded upon that mutual care; and we continually extend and improve upon them as a result of the valuable opinions of the countless clients who have trusted us with their pets. We pride ourselves on three main values: excellence in care for our staff, clients and patients. We hope that you can see all 3 of these values whenever you visit Astonlee. We hope that our aim of caring shines through in a transparent way. Here is a MENU OF QUALITY ASSURED SERVICE AT ASTONLEE. You should find the answers to most of your concerns:
- Friendly, well trained staff/healthcare support team.
- Annual Health assessment and vaccinations.
- Puppy parties FREE. From May 2015 we offer the first of a series of 3 puppy parties free of charge to our clients who have their puppies vaccinated with us. The puppy parties take place between the ages of 9 and 13 weeks.
- MICROCHIPPING @ £10 inc vat.
- Dental health checks FREE with our professional nursing team.
- Weight checks FREE with our professional nursing team.
- CLINICAL AUDIT.
- Dietary advice.
- Well Pet Clinics for pets over 8 years old: Celebrating the love and care that your pet has given YOU by giving THEM an MOT.
- Out of hours emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Bereavement advice.
- SUPERB NEW PREMISES.
- Health and Safety.
- Employment Law.
- PRICING is as good, fair, honest and transparent as we can make it.
- Information is made available to clients via newsletters, notices, practice brochure, leaflets and our website.
- Much more product display space in the waiting room, which enables clients to see more of the excellent range of healthcare products we offer. We also have the weighing scales made accessible in the waiting area for client use.
- CAR PARK is HUGE and a GREAT improvement on our previous one at the old surgery.
- EXCELLENT SURGICAL FACILITIES. The high standards include the excellent purpose designed preparation room and two theatres, and a separate room for autoclaving/sterilising the instruments. WE AIM TO TELEPHONE THE OWNERS DURING OR AFTER THE OPERATION TO KEEP WORRIED CLIENTS INFORMED.
- X RAY FACILITIES are now DIGITAL since new equipment was purchsed in 2011.
- ANAESTHESIA includes the use of specially installed piped oxygen to all the workstations and also to the ICU. We also have an AGSS (active gas scavenging system) that is in use during our theatre times so that waste anaesthetic gases are sucked away safely out of reach of animals or humans. We use what are widely recognised as GOLD STANDARD ANAESTHETIC AGENTS, and the safety for patients and surgical staff is of a very high standard.
- DENTAL OPERATING ROOM separate from the other operating facilities. This is very useful, and has positive pressure filtered ventilation to keep the germs away from other areas of the practice.
- Ophthalmology, Darkened rooms for ophthalmology.
- More space for expansion of the same general practice services, eg: 6 dedicated consulting rooms. 2 operating theatres, 18 feet long preparation room with 3 workstations including tub table for bathing animals, etc. Hospital wards to accommodate over 50 patients, including many more large dogs
- EXOTIC work. We have added hospitalisation facilities with glass doors on cages to accommodate birds, hamsters, gerbils(and other small furries), and some reptiles..
- DERMATOLOGY, U/SOUND, CARDIOLOGY, RADIOGRAPHY.
- COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE : ACUPUNCTURE, over the counter sales of Homoeopathic remedies with better display. Dr Paul uses acupuncture to treat lick granulomas in dogs with a high success rate, and also arthritis in dogs and cats, and some otherr conditions. This treatment is Paul's preferred method for treating lick granulomas as a first line treatment.
- Telephone system improvements to direct calls to the right department/person at designated times, eg: Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, Nurse Station/ICU, Vet Station/vets, Pet Travel Scheme, Advice Line, Pet Accessories, Appointments, Visits(including Horses where necessary for Paul's Riding Establishment Inspections).
- Reception Desk is designed and built with ease of use for receptionists and clients in mind.
- INTENSIVE CARE UNIT for critically ill patients.
- ISOLATION WARD. The facility to effectively isolate patients with infectious diseases (including cat 'flu, parvovirus, Leptospirosis and others) is really important for patients and staff who are caring for them. It is also important for keeping these diseases under control and out of harm's way for other patients in the hospital. Leptospirosis is an example of a zoonosis, which means a disease of animals that can also infect people, and these diseases are obviously especially important to be in isolation with 'barrier nursing'.
- DOG RUN.
- SPECIAL BOARDING SERVICE FOR OUR PATIENTS WHO NEED TREATMENT WHILE THEIR OWNERS ARE AWAY ON HOLIDAY. This is a service that helps to remove the worries from anxious clients who can then go away and enjoy their holidays.
- CONFERENCE ROOM substantially improves our capacity and facilities for training of our staff and is used for holding meetings with clients such as the puppy parties.
- Monthly payment scheme for preventive care and/or for pet illness/accident cover 'in house'. This has been growing in popularity and now has over 110 animals registered and benefiting from this extraordinarily good way of paying for veterinary care at Astonlee.
- Accommodation on the first floor for overnight duties and availability of staff on site for emergencies and in patient care. We also use this for providing vet students with accommodation free of charge whilst they are ‘seeing practice’ with us.
- New computer system from 2019 with improved facilities which we constantly strive to improve as no system is perfect and requirements keep changing with advances in our services.
- SUPERB WAITING AREA, and a facility to enable a telephonist to be employed at a switchboard in the office away from the reception area when the phones are busy. We now have 8 lines coming in.
- PRACTICE LABORATORY. We have a good microscope and blood testing facilities, giving us fast results on a whole range of commonly needed diagnostic tests including biochemistry, haematology, thyroid levels and basic allergies. We use outside laboratories for some tests that either require more sophistication and technology or are too rarely needed for the practice to be able to justify the expenditure on equipment and reagents. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR CLIENTS TO UNDERSTAND JUST A LITTLE OF THE COMPLEXITY AND VALUE OF THIS SERVICE, which at its simplest level means that no one test can diagnose every illness, and each test has a price tag. There are considerable advantages to our patients and clients in being able to do a lot of laboratory diagnosis on the premises because some of these results can be critical to the patient and the clinical decisions being made where minutes or hours can make a difference to the outcome. It is the job of the highly trained professional General Practising Vet to make the important decisions about which selection of tests to do in the best interests of the pet. Clients who have visited our practice laboratory have seen something of what is involved.
- Laundry room is so useful for all the blankets and drapes used in the hospital.
- TOWER OFFICE. This is a unique feature that everyone new asks about because it is a very useful landmark to enable clients to find the practice very easily, a point that is really important in an emergency late at night in the dark when animals’ lives are at stake. The office also serves an important purpose as the Principal’s Office for administration and directing the practice, which employs almost 30 staff now. The office is also extremely useful for private meetings, interviews and appraisals. The view is great as well.
- PHARMACY is a separate and secure room, conveniently located for the vets in consultations or for reception to collect prescriptions, or for theatre and ward use in house. Dispensing is to a high standard, and we have introduced comprehensive checks in our system to avoid any errors.
REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS We require up to 5 days notice to prepare your prescription. The animal must have been examined by your vet within the past 6 months. There is a fee for a re-examination and often further tests are required in addition to the physical examination; eg. blood tests, ECG, xray, echocardiogram; to monitor the condition and medication.
- HEALTH AND SAFETY is a top priority, and we have employed Citation PLC as our chosen firm of external experts in this field to keep us up to date and this includes 24 hour help and advice for very quick professional advice whenever needed. The quality control is in the constant updates and in the ability to deal with any incident without worrying about all the legal implications. The standards are first class. Providing a safe environment for patients, clients and staff is very important, and we do not underestimate this.
- EMPLOYMENT LAW is also a top priority. We have employed Citation PLC as our external expert advisers in this very complex field, and this helps to keep us right up to date with every aspect. The quality control is in the recruitment, training and development and retention of good staff who are happy to work here. Being proactive helps us to care for our team who are caring for clients and patients.
- PRICES REFLECT THE COSTS OF EXPERTISE, TIME, DRUGS, EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLES INVOLVED, PLUS OTHER OVERHEADS BUILT IN TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE CONSISTENTLY HIGH SERVICE STANDARDS. Ready Reckoner leaflets an other information is available in the surgery to assist clients with calculation of their bills. We also now encourage clients to pay a deposit BEFORE their pet is admitted to hospital so that they are actually thinking a little about the possible costs at what can be a stressful time for pet owners. We strongly believe in building and maintaining TRUST between ourselves and our clients, and this is so clearly illustrated when clients are leaving their pet with us for an operation or other type of hospital treatment. The anxiety for clients is something we cannot eliminate altogether as that is part of the loving relationship YOU have with your pet; but we can try do to everything we possibly can to minimise YOUR worries. An example of how to do a rough calculation of the possible costs for procedures is illustrated here in an extract from our ‘Ready Reckoner for clients’:
This rough calculation is given on the strict understanding that it is only a rough calculation, and that any unforeseen complications which might occur would be charged for as an additional cost.
Consultation fee - £20 to £45Hospital stay per day - £15 to £85 per day; eg: £18 to £255 for 3 days depending on level of care and size of pet.
Cost of operation - £50 to £900 approx.
Anaesthetic costs - £20 to £100 approx.
X rays - 1st, 2nd , 3rd… £50 to £300 approx.
Drips - £50 approx each.
Injections - £7 to £50 approx.
Tablets - £6 to £50 approx.
Buster collar - £3 to £15 approx.
Blood tests - £20 to £150 approx.
TOTAL………………………….£224 to £1890 approx.
Some real examples of actual diagnostic procedures and treatments are as follows:
‘Eva’ a Bull Mastiff with a pyometra (womb infection) with complications £1016.50.
‘Sally’ a Westie with a lameness diagnosed as Perthes disease £341.60.
‘Bodger’ a Bull Terrier suffered a shark bite in Milton Keynes when he put his foot into the jaw of a souvenir shark’s skull brought back by the owner from holiday, severing the Achilles tendon £1600.00
‘Ralph’ a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a skin problem £618.60.
- INFORMATION IS SUPPLIED TO CLIENTS VIA NEWSLETTERS AND OTHER LEAFLETS, AND ALSO VIA OUR WEBSITE
FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR YOUR PET is the owner's responsibility. We recommend pet insurance and also provide our own 'Astonlee Plan' which is a low cost easily affordable prepayment scheme. For those clients who have fallen on very hard times and on council tax or housing benefit we also are very pleased to have had the PDSA Petaid scheme since September 2006.