TEL: 01260 272131
IN ALL EMERGENCIES please call 01260 272131.
When closed, an automated message will guide you through our Out Of Hours procedures.
Who will I get through to?
When we are closed, we use a dedicated Out Of Hours service provider called Vets Now. They are located at sites all over the UK; however the closest one to us is in Macclesfield. They work out of the Wright and Morten Veterinary Hospital, although they are an entirely separate business entity.
Their direct telephone number is 01625 348284.
If you are on holiday elsewhere in the UK, as a client of Congleton Vets you are able to utilise the services of any Vets Now practice in the case of an emergency. Staff will be on-hand not only to see your pet if need be, but are also happy to provide FREE telephone advice and reassurance, should this be required.
Please note, that our computer systems are not linked, so they cannot book in appointment requests with us.
Please reserve use of this service for genuine emergencies only.
Why does Congleton Vets outsource its Out Of Hours to Vets Now?
We are a small team here at Congleton Vets, and our mission is to provide you and your pets with the highest possible care and service during our daytime opening hours. To also offer a productive and efficient night service is sadly not possible, as we do not have the staffing resources in order to do this. What's more is that we don't feel it is in your pet's best interest to be seen in the middle of the night by a vet who's already worked a 12 hour day shift. Your pet deserves a fresh pair of eyes and ears, and this is best provided by a dedicated Out Of Hours provider, such as Vets Now.
Their hospitals are staffed by vets and nurses who do not work during the day - their shift starts when Vets Now opens at 6.30pm. As a result they are fresh and awake, and able to provide you and your pet with the same top quality service that you will be used to receiving from us during the day. In addition, all staff are trained in emergency medicine and surgery, so your pet couldn't be in better hands in the event of a crisis. What’s more is if your pet needs to be admitted for hospitalisation, then staff are present throughout the night, constantly checking on and caring for them.
Even if we were able to see your pet ourselves in the middle of the night, this level of service is not something that we could compete with as our staff ultimately need to go home and rest before the start of the following day. Leaving a critically ill patient unsupervised in a kennel is not something we would feel comfortable doing, and is also something we are sure you would not wish to happen. Seeing a tired vet or nurse the following day that’s been up all night dealing with an emergency, is also an unacceptable level of service in our opinion, and that is not what you're paying for.
What does it cost to be seen at Vets Now?
All telephone advice is FREE. If it is then recommended that your pet is seen, then a fee will apply for the consultation, as well for any treatment provided, whether this is medical or surgical.
Vets Now fees are not the same as ours, and their fees reflect the fact that staff are on-hand to provide free telephone advice, as well as staffing their clinics with vets and nurses who are highly skilled and trained in emergency and critical care. What’s more is that their staff work very unsociable hours, including all night, at weekends, and all Bank Holidays including Christmas. Their hospitals are also equipped with specialist equipment used to deal with emergencies, which may not be found in our clinic due to reduced numbers of emergency cases seen.
Are these fees covered by my pet insurance?
Vets Now fees should be covered in the same way as any other veterinary fees by your insurance company. If you are in any doubt, check the details of your policy with your provider.
Vets Now do apply a £14.40 administration charge to all insurance claims processed by their clinics. This fee is charged on all standard insurance claims, as well as all direct claims. This fee is designed to help cover the cost of the duty Veterinary Surgeon’s time for collecting the clinical notes, printing the invoice, processing and posting the insurance claim, as well as staff time when dealing with queries once submitted to the insurance company. The majority of veterinary practices in the UK currently have a charge for processing an insurance claim.
Avoiding fee surprises!
For all intended treatment, the vet that deals with your pet will be able to provide you with an estimate of costs. If you cannot afford this estimate, then steps will be taken to provide your pet with an alternative satisfactory treatment plan. Vets Now’s primary concern is the same as ours, i.e. the wellbeing of your pet, and they will never refuse to see a very sick pet in an emergency. Like us, they understand that paying for veterinary treatment, especially for an unplanned emergency, can be a real struggle for some pet owners. Together they will come up with a plan to provide the most appropriate level of care for your pet and will help you through different payment options.
If your pet is insured, then a Direct Claim should be possible. Please speak to a member of staff about this, and they will advise you on the necessary paperwork to take along with you. Policy documentation and proof of address will likely be required.
Please don’t be offended if they ask for an insurance excess or a deposit towards fees to be paid at the time of admission. Unlike us, they do not know you, and the vast majority of the cases that they see are on a one-off basis, so they naturally need to ask for payment at the time of treatment to ensure that costs can be covered. For more complex procedures they may ask for a deposit as a commitment that the rest of the bill can paid. It is easier for us to waive such fees as we have a longer standing relationship with you and your pet, as well as confirmed credit history.
What should I expect when I visit Vets Now?
When you arrive at the Vets Now clinic, you may have to wait before the vet sees you and your pet. Emergency work is by its nature unpredictable and it is difficult to schedule appointments. Emergency vets will always see and treat the sickest pet first. If possible, call the clinic ahead of time to let them know when to expect you and to give them enough information for them to ascertain what kind of emergency it is. This is especially important for the very sick pets, since the veterinary team can prepare some of the emergency treatments to save time when you arrive, and can meet you at the door to assist if your pet is unable to walk.
If there is going to be any significant delay before your pet is going to be seen by the vet, a qualified veterinary nurse will perform a triage assessment to ensure there will be no risk to your pet from the delay. If the nurse has any concerns, she or he may admit your pet to the treatment area to provide first aid such as oxygen therapy and pain relief. You will be asked to wait in the waiting room in this situation.
If you have any concerns about your pet while waiting to the see the veterinary surgeon, speak to the receptionist or nurse – don’t sit and worry that things are deteriorating.
Once the veterinary surgeon has examined your pet, he or she will discuss with you any tests that may need to be run and any treatment that needs to be given. You will also be given an estimate of costs at this stage.
If your pet has an intravenous injection, blood sample, intravenous catheters or a scan, they will need to have some fur clipped. This may be from multiple places, and in the case of scans or surgery may be extensive. This is to help prevent bacterial contamination and infection.
What happens when Vets Now closes the following morning and my pet needs further treatment?
In most cases, your pet will be transferred back to us once we re-open the following morning, for treatment to be continued. Ideally you should transfer your pet yourself, as this gives you the opportunity to speak to both the emergency vet at discharge and us when you arrive back here. Details about on-going treatment and/or further tests (if indicated) can then be discussed.
Pets will not be discharged until they are deemed stable to travel and for some critically unwell pets this may mean that they stay at the emergency clinic for some days before they are fit to travel. In this case, they will be looked after by the Out Of Hours team at night and the daytime practice staff (Wright and Morten) during the day.
Upon transfer or discharge, you will be provided with a full clinical history for your pet, detailing results of all tests performed and treatments given. This clinical history also gets emailed to us so that we have all the information we need to continue treating your pet. If your pet has been discharged, we will often ring you that day to find out how your pet is getting on, as well as to obtain feedback on the service that you received from Vets Now.
Do Vets Now do house visits?
Vets Now do offer house visits as per the same policy and guidelines set out by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) that we also follow. As with the vast majority of practices across the UK, their preferred option in most cases is for the animal to be treated at one of their clinics where the vets and nurses have direct access to the equipment and facilities necessary to provide the best possible care. However where transport is not possible and there is a clear clinical need, their teams organise a visit at the earliest possible opportunity.
The final decision on a house visit rests with the duty vet who will evaluate the case based on clinical grounds to establish the most appropriate care for a patient.
As Vets Now is a dedicated emergency clinic, they must always have a vet and nurse on duty in the hospital. This allows them to provide high quality care for critical in-patients and treat new emergency cases in the best possible environment. On the rare occasions when house visits are required, their clinical team has to consider the care of all of their patients. This can mean that if they have a critical in-patient that cannot be left unattended, another veterinary surgeon and nurse must be called so that there is still a vet and nurse in the clinic. Finding cover can take a little time to arrange, but you would be kept informed throughout this process.