MP and his dog take trip to the vets to celebrate ‘outstanding’ award

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AN MP and his dog were VIP guests at a veterinary hospital which is celebrating an outstanding award for its client care in a recent inspection.

Conservative MP for Weaver Vale Graham Evans brought his family’s cross-border terrier Alfie for a quick check-up with Bruce Waddell who heads up the team for the first opinion practice at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Chester Road, Hartford, near Northwich.

The six-year-old terrier, who enjoys surfing on family holidays and long walks in the countryside, was a slightly reluctant visitor when he arrived until he was tempted with dog biscuits and liver paste.

The small animal hospital, which is part of the independently owned Willows Veterinary Group, is made up of a first opinion surgery and also a referrals service for more specialised cases. There is a dedicated nursing team on site 24 hours a day to ensure the best possible care for the animals in their care.

Alfie was spoilt by staff on the first opinion side which is made up of five vets, 14 veterinary nurses and seven members on the reception.

Together, they were one of the first teams in the UK to be put through their paces in a new practice standards scheme run by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) which is a voluntary programme to accredit veterinary practices in the UK.

It is thought that around 50 per cent of veterinary surgeries in the UK do not seek accreditation from the RCVS which promotes the gold standard of care and treatment for animals.

In November last year, the RCVS launched the new format in a bid to provide a more detailed assessment for both vets seeking accreditation and their clients. There are now six different areas which veterinary surgeries are judged on; Client service, Team and Professional Responsibility, Patient Consultation Service, In-Patient Service, Diagnostic Service, and Emergency and Critical Care Service.

Three out of the six are inspected at one time and for Willows Veterinary Hospital, it was Team and Professional Responsibility, In-Patient Service and Client Service. They received ‘goods’ in both Team and Professional Responsibility, In-Patient Service and an ‘outstanding’ for their Client Service.

MP Graham Evans said: “It is an important part of my role to come out and visit people in my area who are outstanding in their field and on this occasion, it has been a real pleasure to be able to bring Alfie who is my family’s much-loved pet.

“I am sure that this outstanding award does not come easy and it will be down to the hard work and dedication of the leadership team and the staff who work here.

“I have been hugely impressed by the facilities at the hospital and also the friendly, kind nature of the staff who have made both myself and Alfie feel welcome and at home.

“I wish the whole team all my congratulations.”

Bruce Waddell, Clinical Director at Willows Veterinary Hospital (first opinion), gave the MP and his canine friend a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and explained how they had achieved their outstanding accolade.

Bruce, who is a dad-of-two, and has two dogs, two cats, three guinea pigs and a pony, said: “Our team at Willows Veterinary Hospital were able to show examiners a variety of examples of exemplary customer care and client services.

“These included being well-trained in bereavement counselling and handling difficult situations when owners are worried and upset about their much-loved pets, providing appointments with named vets and clients able to see their preferred vet with consideration for early drop off and late pick up and communicating with clients in a variety of ways such as text, email and by post for reminders on vaccinations and flea and wormer treatments.

“Importantly, we could also show that was a strong culture of reviewing feedback from clients, both positive and negative, in a bid to continually improve the first-rate customer service we always strive to achieve.

“It’s the added extras we do, without being asked, which makes our team stand out and we are very proud of the award.

“Only today, we have had a dog in for physio treatment whose owner is currently away on holiday. My staff have been emailing him updates to let him know how his pet is doing so he doesn’t need to worry too much while he is away on a break.

“We often have a long-term relationship with both the owners and their pets and we make it our business to look after and care for them.”

Willows Veterinary Hospital is part of the independently-owned Willows Veterinary Group. The group offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise through 24 small animal practices, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a five-office farm practice which are located across Cheshire and into the Wirral, Staffordshire and North Wales. Willows is accredited by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

For more information about Willows Veterinary Group go to or visit the group’s Facebook page @WillowsVetGroup

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