Practice of the Year
Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic
In March 2020 life at Friars Moor Vets changed completely. Overnight we were asked to move immediately to an accident and emergency service. We had to move from 3 branches to working solely from 1 site and we had to make the difficult decision to furlough some staff and ask others to work from home. The staff that remained worked tirelessly over the coming weeks to maintain the excellent veterinary service that we are so proud to offer. The vets and nurses worked out how to treat pets without social contact, and their step count increased dramatically!
The receptionists had to deal with a surge in telephone traffic, reassuring clients, helping with their queries and dealing with all repeat prescriptions from 3 sites. We even had doorstop delivery from our staff to clients that were vulnerable! We had to completely redesign the layout of the building at Sturminster so we could keep everyone safe and working efficiently. All of the staff either working or at home were absolutely brilliant and as their manager I was so proud of their attitude and resilience in such difficult circumstances. In an unprecedented time everyone here had to deal with this pandemic in all aspects of their life and we needed to be there for each other. Friars Moor are so close and class each other as a work family and we are used to close communication and enjoy socialising together. We all found out about the new word 'zoom' and we did a lot of it! From quiz nights, chocolate tasting, team meetings, home workers coffee mornings, retirement parties, baby showers, exercise classes and we also celebrated 2 staff members 20 year work anniversaries! This maintained our team ethos and tried to keep us as close as we could be, albeit remotely. As the year progressed we were able to start introducing routine services, reopened the branches and began to bring staff back from furlough. It required the staff who had been working throughout to help their colleagues settle back in and for those returning to be understanding to the new ways of working. It was one of my highlights to ring a colleague and ask them to come back to work! This transition happened seamlessly and we all managed it very well, staff were joyful to see a new face in the building.
Although we have seen a few more lockdowns since the first one in March all staff at Friars Moor have continued to work in a professional way and provide a veterinary service they are so passionate about. Our clients have been brilliant and supportive and we have had so much positive feedback on what we have achieved over the last year to continue to look after their pets. I can honestly say that as I have overseen the changes since March 2020, I could not have wished for a better team to do this with, I respect and admire everyone of them and they make my role complete.