Making a Complaint About a Vet

 

Independent mediation for veterinary professionals and their clients

Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS) is a voluntary, independent and free mediation service for clients whose animals have received veterinary care and for the veterinary professionals providing that care. Using the process of mediation, VCMS offer help and guidance to resolve complaints in a fair, cost-efficient manner that is unbiased and non-judgemental.

VCMS works with both parties to try and reach a solution that is acceptable to both the client and veterinary professional. The service is funded by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons which regulates all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses practising within the UK.

All veterinary practices will have their own complaints procedures to deal with concerns raised by clients. Where a complaint cannot be resolved within the practice, either party can refer the complaint to the VCMS. We will obtain all the details of the concern and mediate with both parties to assist in finding a resolution.

The service is provided by Nockolds Solicitors. This means it is completely impartial and each complaint is considered in a fair, timely and efficient way so that the veterinary professional and client can move on.

 

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All veterinary practices should have their own internal complaints procedure to deal with any complaints raised by animal owners. Most issues are resolved informally within the practice.

However, some complaints can escalate resulting in strong emotions where the owner and the practice are no longer able to communicate effectively, or when an owner feels dissatisfied with the response from the practice.

The VCMS can mediate complaints concerning the customer service, or the standard of care provided by a veterinary practice. For full details please see our Guide for Animal Owners.

You need to show that you have complained to the veterinary practice and have followed the practice’s complaint procedure. If the complaint has not been resolved or the practice have not responded, then the VCMS can assist by providing mediation.

They will require feedback from veterinary clients, practices and stakeholders to help inform the future need for a mediation service and to decide how alternative dispute resolution such as mediation can assist in resolving concerns that do not fall within the serious misconduct disciplinary remit of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

 

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What to Expect From The Process 

They will listen attentively and ask questions in order to understand what has happened. They will then contact both parties to obtain all the information concerning the complaint. They will review the complaint thoroughly and advise you as soon as possible if it falls within our remit. If the complaint is outside of their remit, they will refer you to the relevant organisation who will be able to assist you.

During the mediation process, they will help both parties to appreciate the rights and obligations under relevant consumer legislation such as Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the relevant professional code of conduct.

Once we understand what has happened, we will contact both parties to mediate possible solutions to resolve the complaint, help to implement those solutions and bring the complaint to a conclusion.

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Advice for Pet Owners

VCMS can help resolve complaints about the customer service or animal care you have received.  

They will help you with your concern by listening to your concerns, understanding what has happened and why you are dissatisfied. They acknowledge that any complaint concerning an animal can be a stressful and emotional time, so they are there to support you and the veterinary professional to help reach a fair solution.  The VCMS is a mediation service so they do not judge or penalise either party. By a mediation process, the VCMS seeks to help resolve your concerns, whether that is by, for example, an apology, refund or other means.

The VCMS cannot assist with the most serious concerns that the veterinary professional has acted in a way that amounts to professional misconduct. In these circumstances, they may refer you to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The RCVS can be contacted on Tel: 020 7202 0789. 

If you are unsure whether the service can accept and mediate your complaint, please call them on 0345 040 5834 for advice.

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How Do I  Raise a Complaint?

Your first step is to raise the complaint in writing with the practice. Every practice should inform you of their complaints procedure. You can ask for the complaints procedure or you may find this on
the practice website. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, or you receive no response, even to a reminder, within a reasonable timescale, please contact the VCMS

To raise a complaint visit their website www.vetmediation.co.uk and complete the online complaint form and consent form, which allows them to
contact the practice and request details from them.

Email: enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk

Or you can contact them by phone or in writing 

Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm

T: 0345 040 5834

A: 6 Market Square Bishop’s Stortford Hertfordshire CM23 3UZ

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What Happens Next?

Once they have the details of your complaint:

• They will contact the practice advising them that you have contacted them concerning a complaint involving their practice

• They will ask them to send a copy of your records and any relevant information

• When they have received all the necessary information, they will review the complaint to ensure it is within the VCMS remit

• They will contact you and the practice to discuss possible solutions for resolving the complaint

• If a solution is found, we will help this to be implemented and conclude the complaint

• If a solution cannot be found or accepted by both parties, the complaint will be referred to a senior mediator within VCMS

• The involvement of VCMS will be concluded either when the senior mediator’s suggestion for resolution is accepted by both parties or it is acknowledged that resolution cannot be achieved

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Mediators do not have the power to enforce a solution on either party When your complaint is finalised, they will also ask you how they have done and listen to your feedback to continuously improve the mediation service.

As well as a complete mediation service, they can also provide you with assistance where you do not feel confident or able to raise the complaint on your own.

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