A South Yorkshire veterinary practice has become the first in the Vets4Pets group to achieve hospital status in the UK.

Group first: Vets4Pets Barnsley gets hospital status.

Less than a month after the group moved into the referral market by buying Northwest Surgeons, Vets4Pets in Barnsley is now the first Vets4Pets practice to be be granted hospital status by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The practice – which treats more than 50,000 patients a year and has grown by more than 1,700% in 13 years – is now able to provide 24-hour, on-site, out-of-hours (OOH) emergency availability of the vet team, use the latest technology and equipment, and carry out advanced surgical procedures including keyhole surgery and diagnostics.

Specialist care for pets with heart problems will now be provided through a regular appointment day with one of the country’s most respected specialist pet cardiologists, Rachel James.

Mrs James will hold regular consultations every four weeks, offering patients specialist referral cardiology for any clinical cardiac case and reducing the need for lengthy travel to practices that offer this service, but are in a different county.

“We’re obviously delighted to be recognised with the highest level of endorsement from industry body the RCVS,” said Caroline Richards, who set up the practice with her husband Peter in 2002.

“It means we can offer an even wider range of services to people and their pets throughout Barnsley and South Yorkshire.

“It’s fantastic Rachel is able to hold regular sessions at our practice. The types of cases Rachel will be able to see include any heart murmur cases, especially in cats, those picked up in puppies at vaccination and older dogs developing heart murmurs (cavalier King Charles spaniels).

“In addition to being awarded our hospital status, the emergency services clinic was extremely hard to achieve and poses us with a welcome, but huge, responsibility to the practices we cover OOH for.

“Our plans are to continue growing the practice and the team, providing jobs for people in the local area and caring for every pet brought in to see us, but all the time keeping customer service at the heart of what we do.”

Investment has helped Vets4Pets Barnsley’s growth and to achieve hospital status, with more than £100,000 spent on equipment, including a digital x-ray machine and keyhole surgery equipment, in the past two years.

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