Coronavirus – Referral update

Fitzpatrick Referrals remains open at both the Orthopaedic and Neurology Centre in Eashing and the Oncology and Soft Tissue Hospital in Guildford.

Due to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, we have put some additional precautionary measures in place.

We would ask that before setting off for the practice you phone one of the numbers below and read the following guidelines.

If your appointment is with Orthopaedics & Neurology telephone 01483 423761

If your appointment is with Oncology & Soft Tissue telephone 01483 668100

Fitzpatrick Referrals is committed to protecting the well-being of our staff, patients and clients at all times. We are following the government’s most recent advice regarding the measures we need to take to help control the spread of COVID-19. We have increased the frequency that our public areas are cleaned and introduced extra hand washing facilities in our public areas.

Social distancing is the key to protecting each other and we need to change the way we work over the coming months to ensure our animal companions receive the care they require, our staff are protected and we minimise the risk to our clients visiting our referral centres.

How can you help us?

  • We are asking all clients to wait outside in their cars.
  • Please maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between you and others at all times.
  • Please keep the number of people that visit to a minimum – ideally, only one person should be present with the patient rather than the whole family.
  • Please do not bring anything apart from your animal to your appointment – no beds, toys or food bags. We will transfer cats into a clinic carrier and ask you to take your cat carrier away with you. Please remember to bring your cat’s basket with you when you come to collect them.

Basic guidelines

  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has or if you are experiencing symptoms such as a new persistent cough or a fever, please call us to discuss the care of your pet before travelling to the clinic.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you. We want to look after you and your animal friend.
  • If you have recently been abroad or in contact with an isolated family member, friend or colleague, please call us on the above relevant number before travelling for your appointment.

Urgent & emergency appointments

  • We will contact you by telephone / text message / email regarding your appointment to ask you questions regarding self- isolation and any health concerns you may have linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • When you arrive for your upcoming appointment at Fitzpatrick Referrals please call reception to let the team know you have arrived. Please wait in your vehicle until a member of staff comes to get you. We ask that all children remain in the vehicle.
  • To protect our team we may ask you to remain outside whilst your pet is examined and treated.

Recheck appointments

  • At our orthopaedics and neurology practice, we are trying to keep recheck examinations to a minimum. Our reception team will contact you in the run-up to your pet’s recheck examination and may arrange a telephone consultation with one of our specialists instead of a physical recheck examination.
  • If you have to attend a recheck examination with your pet please wait in your car when you arrive and call reception to let the team know you have arrived. Please wait in your vehicle until a member of staff comes to get you. We also ask that all children remain in the vehicle.

Discharge appointments

  • When you arrive to collect your pet from the clinic, please stay in your car and phone the clinic to let them know you have arrived.
  • We will email a set of discharge instructions prior to your pet’s discharge appointment. Please read these instructions, prepare any questions and send these to us via email.
  • In most cases, we will bring your pet to your car, give you a brief verbal handover and answer any questions you may have.
  • We will not be able to show you imaging or arthroscopy videos while social distancing measures are in place.

Owner visits

  • To adhere to the government guidelines on social distancing we are not able to allow family visits with hospitalised patients for the near future.
  • Our teams will ensure that you are kept up to date on your pet’s care and treatment via telephone and email.

New referrals

During the current coronavirus pandemic, we are following the advice from Government and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and only accepting cases where there is a significant impact on the health and welfare of the dog or cat.

  • If you are concerned about the welfare of your pet and unable to reach your primary care vet our orthopaedics and neurology team will try to speak with you and provide the advice you need.
  • However, if your primary care vet is still open, please contact them for advice and they can arrange a referral to us if specialist care is indicated.

Repeat prescriptions

  • Should your animal require a repeat prescription please ensure you submit your requests to the practice with plenty of notice, before your medication supply runs low.
  • Due to the current demand, we will only be able to provide you with 30 days of medication at a time. Please bear with us during this time whilst we process your requests.

If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s current medication plan please contact the specialist overseeing the patient for further advice.

Outdoor consult room at Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics and Neurology during coronavirus pandemic

Our new outdoor consult room allows vets to examine patients at our orthopaedic and neurology practice, whilst clients remain at a safe distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these challenging times, we wanted to reach out to our referring vets to give you an update on our current service provision.

We want to continue to offer a world-class referral service to our existing and new clients over the coming months.

To ensure we are able to maintain a service we are going to have to change the way we work. We are going to alter the way we interact with clients with most consultations occurring in our outside consultation room or over the phone. We will be ensuring our staff adhere to social distancing guidelines and have altered our clinical hygiene protocols to align with government recommendations.

We want you to know that we are here to help you during these difficult times.

  • We will continue to offer a 24/7 emergency service for patients who need our help.
  • We will continue to see urgent orthopaedic and neurological consultations on a daily basis.
  • We will continue to offer radiographic interpretation and phone support for cases you are seeing.

We will get back up to a full provision of routine orthopaedic and neurological consultations once the crisis abates. We are putting measures in place to allow us to increase our routine orthopaedic consultations to address any backlog of cases which develops.

The COVID-19 crisis will undoubtedly provide us with challenging situations where the normal referral pathway cannot be followed. Guidance on how to get animals to us when clients are affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating can be found in the section above ‘latest guidelines for clients.’

Contrary to our usual referral pathway if you have a patient with an obvious orthopaedic injury or an obvious neurological emergency that you are struggling to assess due to staff shortages, we may be able to accept the referral without you consulting the patient first. We would ask you to take a comprehensive phone history from the client and then forward the full clinical history to us. This will not be the default pathway for referral but in situations where you are struggling to see your clients due to staff shortages, we will do everything in our power to help.

We will keep you updated over the coming weeks as the COVID-19 situation evolves. It is important that the veterinary community does as much as possible to support each over the coming months. If you are struggling with a case, please remember we are here to help.

Yours sincerely,

Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics & Neurology Team

We wanted to assure you that even though we are all facing uncertain times, we are still here to help you and your clients as much as we possibly can. Sadly, as we all know cancer is not the easiest disease to put off until life becomes more normal, and so at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue we have made essential changes to our service to keep us a safe as possible, yet continue to offer you and your clients a helping hand.

As of Monday 23rd March 2020, the entire hospital workforce divided into 3 teams, with only 1 team being on-site at once. The teams will rotate and work independently of each other, working 3 days in and then out for 6. This means we can offer you a regular service 7 days/week which we hope you will find valuable. All patients will be picked up in the car park area to minimise contact and keep our staff safe and reassure your clients. Clients are no longer entering the building.

Whilst we are unable to see ‘routine’ cancer and soft-tissue patients, we are seeing emergencies and urgent cases. For clarity, these are patients which could, within the next 3 weeks, either:

  • significantly deteriorate;
  • see their cancer progress significantly to their detriment;
  • experience significant pain or adverse clinical signs; or
  • need much more involved or complex treatment if delayed, or become untreatable.

In doubt, feel free to call us so we can discuss which category your case falls into.

We are aware that some of you have moved to a video consultation service, please be assured that as long as you feel that your patient falls into our area of expertise, we are happy to see them directly, even if you haven’t physically been able to assess them yourselves. i.e. you are able to refer a patient to us if your only contact has been a video consultation and you believe a second opinion is indicated.

As always we are open to any feedback or suggestions you may have for us to continue to support you and your teams. If you have any further questions on how the oncology and soft tissue services are running or if you are looking for advice on a patient please email [email protected]

Please continue to be safe and remember we are all in this together,

Yours sincerely,

Fitzpatrick Oncology & Soft Tissue Team

Last updated: Thursday 26th March 2020. This guidance remains in place until further notice. 

Fitzpatrick Referrals