TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
Thank you for entrusting the care and attention of your pet to The Goddard Veterinary Group. This document details our Practice Terms and Conditions. Should you require any clarification of any aspect of the terms then please ask.
All fees, diets and drug charges are available on request and are subject to VAT at the current rate. Fee levels are determined by the level of expertise and time spent on a case and according to drugs, consumables and materials used. A member of staff will be happy to discuss any queries you may have. You will be presented an itemised fee invoice for every consultation, surgical procedure or transaction with us at the time of payment.
OWNERSHIP OF RECORDS
The care given to your pet may involve undertaking some specific investigations, for example taking radiographs. The ownership of the resulting radiographs and all other records will remain at all times with the practice as part of your complete and comprehensive records. Charges made for x-rays are for the interpretation of them. If required, we can arrange to have copies of x-rays made but this would be at your expense.
Radiographs and copies of all laboratory results, with a summary of the history will be passed on, by request, to another Veterinary Surgeon should the need arise. You may view your pet’s clinical notes on request by appointment only. Please note it is your responsibility to provide us with accurate contact details.
Payment is due at the time of treatment or discharge unless alternative arrangements have been agreed in advance; should an account not be settled a reminder will be sent. Should it be necessary for further reminders to be sent, administration charges may be incurred. After due notice unpaid accounts will be referred to our debt collection agency and further charges, such as for the production of reports, correspondence, court fees, attendance at court and phone calls will be levied in respect of costs incurred in collecting the debt. Any cheque or credit/debit card transaction not honoured or any cash tendered that is found to be counterfeit will result in the account being restored to the original sum with further charges added to cover bank charges and administrative costs together with interest on the principal sum.
INABILITY TO PAY
If for any reason you are unable to settle your account as specified, we ask you to discuss the matter with a member of staff as soon as possible and before treatment takes place. Please note that instalments or part payment of any account may only be sanctioned with the express permission of a senior member of staff and must be agreed before treatment takes place. Emergency treatment to alleviate suffering will always be given irrespective of ability to pay.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
Accounts are due for settlement at the end of the consultation, the discharge of your pet or upon collection of drugs and/or diets. You may settle your accounts using cash or credit/debit cards. The accounts of hospitalised cases should be paid up to date when the balance reaches £1,000. We may at our own discretion, and subject to conditions, accept a request to reclaim fees directly from your pet insurance provider. The practice may choose to offer access to a loan through a third party subject to condition. In the event that any or part of your application is rejected or not fulfilled by the loan provider, the full balance is payable immediately by yourself.
ESTIMATES OF TREATMENT COSTS
We will provide you a written estimate as to the probable cost of a course of treatment or surgical procedure. Please bear in mind that any estimate given can only be approximate and additional costs which cannot be predicted at the outset may occur as treatment progresses. We will make every effort to discuss any such additional costs whenever possible.
PET HEALTH INSURANCE
The Goddard Veterinary Group strongly supports the principle of insuring your pet against unexpected illness and accidents. We choose to work with and promote the insurance company Petplan, exclusively. We are also able to submit and discuss claims with Petplan on the client’s behalf with their permission. Please ask for details of Petplan 4 weeks’ free insurance from any member of staff.
It is your responsibility to determine your level of cover and to then reclaim any fees you have paid the practice. It is also your responsibility to pay any excess that may be set according to your policy and to have knowledge of any condition exclusions. In certain instances when clients do not have the funds to make payment in full, arrangements can be made for your insurer to make their payment directly to us but this only applies to particular insurance companies and even then when sums involved are high enough. A copy of our direct claims policy is available upon request. In the event that a direct claim is submitted, any balance remaining 45 days after submission of the claim shall be paid by you within 14 days. Please ask for details if you would like to be considered for this facility.
COMPLAINTS AND STANDARDS
We hope to ensure you never have reason to complain about the standards of service received from us. However, if you feel that there is something you wish to raise, please direct your comments, preferably in writing, to the Regional or Hospital Manager with responsibility for the staff member or service in question. Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome then you should contact the Operations Director or Clinical Director. At each stage an acknowledgement will be sent by return and then a period will elapse while the case is investigated and reports collated from those staff involved. A reply in writing will follow, usually within 14 days although the period may be longer if the Manager or staff involved are temporarily unavailable or delayed.
MONITORING TELEPHONE CALLS AND EMAILS
Telephone calls and emails to and from the practice may be recorded or monitored. By using such communication methods you are consenting to the recording or monitoring of the same.
Prescriptions are available from this practice. The current charge for a written prescription is displayed in our reception areas or you may ask a member of staff for this information. You may obtain Prescription Only Medicines, Category V, (POM Vs) from your veterinary surgeon or ask for a prescription and obtain these medicines from another veterinary surgeon or a pharmacy. Your veterinary surgeon may prescribe POM Vs only for animals under his or her care. A prescription may not be appropriate if your animal is an in-patient or immediate treatment is necessary. You will be informed, on request, of the price of any medicine that may be prescribed for your animal. The policy of this practice is to re-assess an animal requiring repeat prescriptions every three months, but this may vary with individual circumstances. The charge for this re-examination is our standard ongoing consultation. Flea and worm treatments can however be dispensed without examination as part of a health plan agreed at the annual health assessment. Clients are requested to give 24 hours advance notice for repeat prescriptions.
In accordance with the Medicines Act we will always use a veterinary licensed product if possible. Should this not be the case we will then use veterinary products licensed for use in other species and failing that a human medical product. Any use of off-licence medication will be based upon our knowledge of its use in animals and an assessment made of the risks and benefits involved. This is particularly common in species other than dogs and cats for which few licensed products are available. Please speak to a veterinary surgeon if you have any concerns about this issue.
We will supply a written prescription as an alternative to the Goddard Veterinary Group dispensing drugs.
EMERGENCY COVER AND HOME VISITS
The Goddard Veterinary Group provides 24 hour emergency cover at each of its three hospitals. There is a surcharge made for this service over and above the normal consultation fee.
Home visits are available at certain parts of the Practice, if booked in advance, at an extra charge. In an emergency it is usually in the best interests of your pet to be seen at a surgery where facilities and a full range of drugs are available. It is not normally possible to carry out home visits outside normal working hours.
The Goddard Veterinary Group will contact you either by letter, email, phone or SMS in order to advise you of your pet’s upcoming healthcare treatments including annual vaccinations.
Whilst we make every effort to send out reminders for your pet’s healthcare, these are provided as a complimentary service and the responsibility to keep them up to date remains with you. In particular, please be aware that PETS passports require rabies vaccination boosters so please keep a personal record of when this is due. The Goddard Veterinary Group accepts no liability for any loss, damages or costs which may result from the failure of a client receiving any reminder.
No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the practice unless it is specifically agreed in writing and signed by the General Manager. No agent or person employed by, or under contract with, the company has the authority to alter or vary these conditions.
You can download and print our Terms and Conditions here.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The Gender Pay Gap is the difference in remuneration of all men and women across a workforce and must be reported on by larger organisations. This is not the same as unequal pay which is paying men and women differently for performing the same work and which is illegal. GVG’s salary structure pays no regard to the gender of staff so rewards equally women and men who are working in similar roles.
The mean pay figures do not permit explanation of the fact that a very high proportion of the profession’s nursing and reception staff are female and therefore earning less than veterinary surgeons: 57% of our male employees are vets whereas only 17% of our female employees are vets. The practice would welcome more male nurses and receptionists and would encourage men to apply to either train or be employed by us in the future. We are pleased to note that since the last report there has been an increase in the proportion of women in both of the upper pay quarters (Top Quarter has seen an increase from 62% to 66% and Upper Middle Quarter from 83% to 86%) as well as an increase in the proportion of men in the Lower Quarter (2% to 4%) which partially accounts for the reduction in the GPG reported.
The causes of Gender Pay Gaps in organisations such as ours are complex and we are committed to continuing to explore all areas to identify opportunities to reduce the gap further. The reduction in the GPG of 3% compared to 2017 is a move in the right direction, however we are committed to continuing to look at our recruitment and remuneration policies to ensure this progress continues.
Difference in hourly rates of pay
Mean gender pay gap: 46%
Median gender pay gap: 50%
Difference in bonus pay
Mean gender pay gap: 21%. i.e. higher than men’s
Median gender pay gap: 72%. i.e. higher than men’s
Proportion of men in the organisation receiving a bonus: 10%
Proportion of women in the organisation receiving a bonus: 10%
Proportion of women in each pay quartile
Top quartile (highest paid): women 66% / men 34%
Upper-middle quartile: women 86% / men 14%
Lower middle quartile: women 96% / men 4%
Lower quartile: women 96% / men 4%