Fitzpatrick Referrals opens final phase of world’s first luxury animal wards

Published 09.05.11

Michael Ball – star of stage, television and well loved radio broadcaster – will officially open the final phase of the world’s first luxury animal wards at state-of-the-art veterinary practice, Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, on Monday 16 May at 11.00am.

The practice featured in the recent BBC One series, ‘The Bionic Vet’, and is the brainchild of Prof Noel Fitzpatrick, who has dedicated the last ten years of his career to the establishment of the premier orthopaedic and neurologic surgical facility for dogs and cats in the UK.

The deluxe wards boast bacterial-resistant wipe-down wall coverings and floor surfaces with underground heating, and air conditioning optimised for high efficiency particulate air to minimise the possibility of infection.  The reinforced glass doors, rather than gates or bars, permit a wide field of view for the animals and allow them to feel as much at home as possible. Each kennel has a space for medication and notes, and a “quick reference” daily guide is written on the glass door each morning to ensure continuity of care and ease of visibility for all. Each kennel has a radio and many are equipped with televisions to provide auditory and visual stimulation – creating a home from home experience for patients.

Light is an important part of the “care package” offered in the luxury wards, and numerous windows and night time dimmers provide a diurnal rhythm to help comfort anxious animals and help those with separation anxiety to settle.

Speaking about the completion of the final phase of the wards, Prof Fitzpatrick said;  “I’ve always felt that people who love animals are generally great people, and they absolutely want to know that when their animal friend is away from home, especially if severely ill, that they are receiving round-the-clock care in the best facility imaginable. This in my head does not involve bars, so I have a “no bars” policy. I want the patient to be super-comfortable and not to feel threatened or “in prison”, especially when some of them will have severe physical disability.”

He added; “If it were my dog that was at the vets, I would want her to be comfortable, happy, not in pain, to have a cosy bed and nice surroundings, not feel enclosed or threatened and have the occasional cuddle. I know it sounds corny, but I really do feel that if people knew that our job is to cuddle and to cure in equal measure, they would see that the level of care we give to pets here is better than that offered at most human hospitals, because we have heavily invested in personnel who dedicate their entire professional lives just to looking after the animals in our wards. I would say that one of the things I am most proud of is that we have entirely dedicated ward, physio, medical and surgical teams who interact seamlessly and  provide to our patients a level of care that truly is outstanding, even if I say so myself.  I will not have an animal under my roof in pain – physical or emotional.  It’s true to say that the “animal wards” are unlike any other kennel area in the UK and elevate animal care to a whole new level.”

In addition to opening the new facility, Michael Ball will have the ‘see out consultation’ for his dog, Freddie, who has been recovering after a major hip operation at the practice. Freddie is one of only eight dogs in the world to have a revolutionary new kind of hip replacement put in after he was involved in a traffic accident which destroyed his hip.

Michael commented, “What Fitzpatrick Referrals has managed to do is truly remarkable. Noel and his team really do care deeply about each and every one of these patients as if they were their own pets. The attention to detail is staggering. I truly have no idea what happens in the operating theatre – though when I see the x-rays, I know that’s remarkable; but when I look at the level of hands-on care and compassion shown by all of team, I’m overwhelmed. I am hugely honoured to be associated with Fitzpatrick Referrals and what this practice stands for.  I know that Freddie could not have been in a better place on earth, so I’m incredibly proud and excited to be cutting the ribbon on the final stage of what I see as a medical hotel for animals of the highest order. The Fitz Ritz even!”

Fitzpatrick Referrals aims to provide the best level of care available for a pet in the world today by offering every possible option for treatment and a holistic approach to recovery with a care package which is unique within the UK and globally.