FAQs

Here is a list of the common questions we receive at Fitzpatrick Referrals – if any questions are not answered here, please contact us with your query and we will be happy to help!

About Fitzpatrick Referrals

Fitzpatrick Referrals currently offers services to treat conditions within the areas of Orthopaedics, Neurology, Oncology, Soft Tissue, Interventional Radiology and Rehabilitation.

We do not offer services other than what we have detailed on our website. We have clinicians that are specialists in the field of Orthopaedics, Neurology, Oncology, Soft Tissue, Interventional Radiology and Rehabilitation in small animals and therefore are not suitably qualified to receive or treat animals that have other conditions outside our remit of expertise.

We are not able to comment or advise on animals that have not been referred to us as our patients. If you have concerns or questions about the treatment of your pet, we recommend talking to your regular primary care vet.

We are not able to offer any advice on the treatment or condition of pets that have not been formally referred to Fitzpatrick Referrals.

Our specialism lies within the treatment of small animals, and our day to day case load consists predominantly of dogs and cats. We also regularly treat rabbits and other small animals so please do get in touch with us to discuss your circumstances.

We endeavour to help wherever we can so do get in touch with the team to talk through your case.

As a reminder, all animals must be referred to us from a general practice primary care vet.

We receive hundreds of requests for work experience every year and regretfully we are unable to accommodate these requests. We currently only provide work experience to veterinary undergraduate students who can find more information on arranging Extra-Mural-Studies on our website here. We advise those people hoping to start working in the veterinary profession to try and gain work experience at their local general practice as the work carried out at a referral practice is not a true reflection of life in the profession.

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is a full time working clinician at the practice and therefore is unable to accept enquiries that are not associated with his clinical work through Fitzpatrick Referrals. If you wish to find out more about the show, please visit the dedicated Supervet website

We are a working animal referral practice and as such we are operational 24/7, 365 days a year, and our first priority is the patients and their families. Unless the circumstances are exceptional, we regret that we cannot offer visits or tours to the public.

If you believe you have special circumstances, please submit your query in the usual way and we will come back to you in due course.

Referral Related

If you and your regular primary care vet feel that your pet has a condition which is beyond the scope or expertise of what can reasonably be achieved in general practice, then a referral to a specialist is appropriate.

A referral can only be made by your primary care vet, who will provide us with all the medical information we require in order to treat your pet and discuss the possible solutions with you when an appointment has been made. To find out more about what to expect from your referral journey, have a look at our Your Visit page.

Referral is a system of professionals working together to offer all pet owners the best service and healthcare options for their animal family member. Specialists at referral centres have vast experience in their field and access to specialist equipment that might not necessarily be available in general practice.

No, referrals can only be arranged through your veterinary surgeon and we are unable to accept a referral directly from members of the public or to give advice to pet owners on cases that have not been referred to us for review or treatment.

If you feel that your pet might benefit from a specialist opinion then you should contact your own veterinary surgeon/practice who can help you arrange a referral. It may be that your vet feels a referral is not necessary, but this does not mean that we cannot be of help to your primary care vet and you as we offer an advice service to veterinary surgeons as well as x-ray film reading and case reviews.

Once you have made an appointment you will be sent an information pack by us with all the key information about the consultation and all the information you will require to prepare for your appointment.

Please contact our reception team to discuss referral of patients from overseas. The referral must follow the standard referral pathway however logistics must be discussed at length prior to us accepting the referral.

Appointments and Treatment

Due to the huge numbers of referrals we deal with on a weekly basis, we are unable to guarantee exactly which clinician you will see. Please be assured that all our specialists are world-class in their chosen speciality.

  • A letter from your vet if this has not previously been sent through.
  • Any x-rays that have been taken.
  • Your pet’s insurance certificate and claim form. We do not do direct claims unless by prior arrangement with ourselves and confirmation from your insurance company. Please note: this process will take at least 5 working days.
Your pet will be examined thoroughly and recommendations made for further investigations and treatment. All implications will be clearly explained. Please feel free to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Please allow plenty of time for your appointment as we may need to perform x-rays or other investigative procedures.

There are a number of places we can recommend to stay if you’re travelling long distances or simply somewhere to enjoy lunch or dinner whilst your pet is with us.

Please visit our Local Places page for details.

Our clinic is equipped with fully comprehensive operating and diagnostic imaging facilities. The welfare of your pet is our main concern and we aim to provide a friendly and approachable service with an excellent standard of clinical, surgical and nursing care – plus emotional support for you and your family.

If your pet stays with us, we will ask you to telephone us later on that day and/or we will call you with updates at least once a day. It may be necessary for your pet to be hospitalised overnight or longer, so please prepare for this. However, if your pet is undergoing a reassessment appointment – for example, sedation and x-rays following a six week postoperative recovery period – most patients are discharged on the same day once they are fully awake from their sedation or general anaesthetic.

It may also be possible for your pet to be scheduled for surgery on a later date, especially if custom implants are required, however, the initial investigation process will normally be performed at your initial appointment.

Yes, please read our terms and conditions of business, found on our Payment Options page. This covers a range of topics, including methods of payment, estimates of treatment costs, settlement terms, media and fundraising rules, pet health insurance, consent, prescriptions, clinical records, photography and more. Some aspects may not be relevant to you, but we ask that you please read these.

You will be given detailed instructions on how to care for your pet postoperatively and the surgeon will discuss any further questions you may have. For cases requiring extra special care or where you may find it difficult to cope in the postoperative period, we can provide a specialist boarding facility within the practice for as long as you need. You can then have the peace of mind your pet will have 24-hour care.

In the event that your pet requires surgery, they will invariably require a period of close confinement or cage rest for recuperation. If you do not already own a kennel or cage please contact the clinic for details on how to acquire one which is suitable for your pet.

We have a fully-equipped rehabilitation centre where your pet is likely to receive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy following surgery. We introduce these therapies as part of our comprehensive postoperative programme. We believe good rehabilitation is integral to the successful outcome of surgical intervention.

Please call us at any time. Our fundamental goal is to provide your pet with the gold standard of care, to support you in making difficult practical or ethical decisions and to give the fullest possible information to allow you to make an informed decision relating to your pet’s condition.

No, we will communicate with them at every stage of your pet’s treatment and will provide a full report on findings, surgery undertaken and postoperative care direct to your vet.

Our patients reside in one of six wards and are cared for 24/7 by our wonderful nursing and animal care assistants. Unlike a lot of referral practices, we have veterinary surgeons on site all day and all night to ensure your pet receives the highest level of care possible.

Fitzpatrick Referrals aims to provide the highest standard of care for you and your animal companions, and we hope you never have cause to complain. However, if you have concerns please direct your comments in writing to the Operations Manager in the first instance to [email protected] 

Payments and Insurance

RSA Insurance Group has a preferred network of referral practices that they have selected. RSA made changes to their terms relating to veterinary referrals for their policyholders, meaning that clients who are or wish to be referred to a hospital that is not part of the RSA Referral Vet Network scheme will be charged a £200 excess.

Fitzpatrick Referrals is not a member of the RSA Referral Vet Network scheme, which means your pet insurance company (if underwritten by RSA) may charge you a £200 excess to be referred to us. However, if you are charged the excess, we will help you to appeal the additional £200 excess or we will reimburse this excess to you on condition that you follow our protocol for direct and indirect claims.

Yes. You may receive a phone call from your insurance provider requesting you to visit a preferred referral hospital in the RSA Referral Vet Network, and even try to advise you that the treatment we provide is not completely covered. The only part that may not be covered by your insurance provider is the £200 excess, which Fitzpatrick Referrals will help you appeal or we will reimburse the £200 excess to you on condition that you follow our protocol for direct and indirect claims.

Our experienced staff may be able to give you a guide to the costs involved and the clinicians will be able to discuss this with you further at the time of your appointment. We are only able to give you this information following a referral by your vet. Please read our Payment Options page for more details.

Fitzpatrick Referrals is a working animal hospital where we see many different patients with different needs and where we do our utmost to provide world-class veterinary treatment and care.  In very rare circumstances, a decision will be made to undertake treatment for a reduced cost but this is on a purely needs-driven basis.  There are no set criteria for this and no decision is ever taken prior to consultation.

This does mean that should you wish to be referred to Fitzpatrick Referrals, we advise that your decision should be taken on the basis that set charges will apply.

In circumstances where insurance claims are not possible or there is no insurance policy in place, we do however, accept credit cards and there are loan facilities available through a third party, subject to status.  These loans are arranged through our finance department once the correct course of any treatment has been agreed. Please read our Payment Options page for more details.

Fitzpatrick Referrals