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Arun Veterinary Group

The corporate practice versus the independent – the value of an independent practice

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When it comes to veterinary practices across the UK there are generally two different types of models. The independent and the corporate.

All vets have your pet’s best interest at heart, regardless of whether they work within an independently or corporate owned practice. However, the framework in which they operate may impact the level of care your pet receives.

In recent years, the UK has seen a progressive shift towards clinics being sold to corporates. A ‘corporate’ is a clinic or group of clinics owned and run as a corporation, with multiple sites located across the entire UK.

These corporations consist of a board of directors, often a very large number of shareholders, location managers and appointed vets in assigned surgeries. Often these vets will call themselves ‘owners’, however this isn’t the case and essentially these practices are owned by the corporation. Sometimes, from the outside, it may be difficult to tell them apart. Often when they are sold, not much appears different from the outside, particularly branding, practice name and logo. But if you delve deeper, subtle changes begin to emerge. For example, practices owned by the same corporate post the same news or articles on their social media platforms and their websites look the same as the clinic in the next village.

The hard working team initially remain loyal but over time they can become disillusioned and lose the passion they once had in their role. This may be because of a change in culture and ethos as well as having limited decision making ability on the best treatments for their patients. Equally, corporate clinics may require an extensive approval process to buy new equipment or modify existing practices and processes.

When it comes to making decisions on the best course of treatment for your pet, some corporations are governed by pre defined, rigid policies and procedures. By the nature of their business model, our understanding is that some corporate vets are influenced by measures on set parameters, one of these being shareholder profit. In some rare instances this may mean that business targets impact on care decisions such as quality of medication or standard of operating procedures. This type of corporate structure may also impact on the speed at which your pet is treated. Within some of these types of clinic structures, certain veterinary decisions may require permissions from head office – delaying your pet’s treatment.

The traditional style of practice which is becoming few and far between in recent years is the independent, family-themed practice like Arun Vet Group. These are owned and operated by an individual vet or a group of vets and may exist in one or multiple locations.

Family-style, independent practices like AVG tend to have low staff turnover based on the excellent culture, environment and feeling of belonging that exists, meaning your pet is more likely to receive continuity of care and see the same familiar faces who know their treatment history each and every time you visit. Similarly, as the pet owner, you’re more likely to form a one-to-one trusted relationship over time with an independent vet.

Importantly, an independent vet is not governed by corporate policies and procedures when it comes to making decisions on the best course of treatment for your pet. Vets operating in independent practices are empowered to resolve all treatment decisions in house, right away, using their clinical judgement, with the knowledge they have complete support from the owners, who they are also always able to communicate with regularly and promptly.

Why use Arun Vet Group?

During 2020 AVG saw a huge number of new clients register with the practice, most of whom came from other clinics recently sold to corporates.

As well as welcoming a record number of new patients to the practice, 2020 saw the AVG family grow as well. We regularly receive CV’s from highly skilled individuals who have found themselves disillusioned both by the changes that have occurred within the industry and their current working environment. They are attracted not only to an independent practice like AVG but also to a practice who values and listens to their staff in a way that cannot be replicated by the competitor models.

We’re an independent, expertly managed and regulated team who are passionate about delivering the very best veterinary care possible. We never cut corners and will always take the correct course of action based on the needs of our patients and your wishes. We are an RCVS Accredited Practice achieving outstanding status and awards in every category – we are currently the only independently owned UK practice to have achieved this. This means our clients have peace of mind knowing that we’re committed to delivering excellence in pet care and customer service.

Arun Vet Group may always be growing but it’s our promise to ‘stay small whilst growing big’, always retaining the same values that sets us apart from corporate practices. We’re not restricted by corporate policies and procedures; our trusted team is driven by what’s best for you and your pet and we will use our expertise to help you make informed healthcare choices.

Our 24-hour hospital in Storrington is now the only independently owned clinic in the heart of the village. Our teams take a proactive, rather than a reactive approach, taking pride and putting love into everything we do. We are not satisfied unless we know we are giving everything to our patients.

15 Comments

  • This is exactly the reasons I left my last vet who I had been with for fifty years and joined your practice.
    It was so nice to find vets that I had know for many years had also joined you,

    • Louise

      Thank you so much for your kind words, we are of course delighted to welcome you.

  • You are all wonderful. When we lost our beloved dog- your kindness was unbelievable. A handwritten card from the vet and the compassion from others in the practice was unrivalled. We now have a new ‘baby’ who you are taking care of. THANK YOU

  • This is exactly why we switched to you. We are so glad we did – we are completely confident that you will put our animal’s interests first.

  • We joined for just these reasons and like the other client’s comment I had been with my previous practice for nearly 55 years from the age of 5 years old! Sadly, it had lost something along the way by joining a corporate. You can throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’!
    We feel valued as individuals and not just another customer from the reception team to the lovely vets (especially Christian!) and we know our four legged family members are in safe hands.

    • Louise

      Dear Penny, thank you very much indeed for these kind words. Best wishes Louise

  • How do we recommend new clients? I do it all the time but just give them your info. What is the formal route?

    • Louise

      Hi Sally Ann, thank you so much for your recommendations. Recommend a Friend cards are available in all our clinics, however during the COVID pandemic we are been very happy to pass the £10 credit on if the new client gives us the name of the person recommending them when they register. Please do not hesitate to contact me further if I can help. Many thanks for your support which is hugely appreciated. Best wishes Louise

  • The exact reason I left my old vets. They sold out and it was very obvious soon after that it was all about the money and not so much about the patients and customers. Way too many decisions that were made due to ringing money from my wallet rather than what was the best treatment. This cost the life of one of our pets and shortened another. Arun Group is as different as eggs are to doughnuts in the way they work and operate. It’s a shame we didn’t change over sooner.

    • Louise

      Dear Paul, wow! Thank you for this extremely complimentary review. Thank you so much for entrusting the care of your pets with us. Best wishes Louise

  • We were with a former virtually one vet practice, lovely man with empathy for both pets & owners but when he retired it was never the same, one really caring vet but you could never guarantee the consistency , plus it was a 6 mile travel often at peak times, the vets already in our village was similar, never sure you’d see the same when along came AVG & they sounded like a modern version of our original vets & they were & yes we usually see Lisa but even if Lisa was on holiday etc the other vets fully familiarise themselves with Bella’s history & you still feel you are getting good & consistent treatment……just love what you stand for & deliver.

    • Louise

      Thank you Sue, always so grateful to you and Bella for the support. I hope you are keeping well. Best wishes Louise

  • Exactly why I left my last vet! They wanted to know my insurance cover level and expanded their offer accordingly. I don’t believe that my dog had totally compassionate care even though, every minute of the day, he was in serious pain because we were referred for more and more tests and checks. When we got to the specialist vets, they said they didn’t know why the local vet had explored these avenues and even considered some surgery as it wasn’t appropriate for my dog and it’s skeletal make up.
    I was recommended Arun Vets and, although today will be our first appointment, I feel so reassured that we’ll be looked after properly. Having confidence in your vet is so important!

  • The team at Westergate looked after Max (British Shorthair) when he had most of his teeth removed a few years ago. And when I lost my beloved Max in December last year I was distraught. However, Cameron was empathetic and treated Max as if he were his own beloved cat. He gave me clear information and all of my options. I then received a lovely card from him. I will definitely be registering my next pet with Arun Vets.

  • My previous vet in Lavant was sold to a large corporate group. Sadly it was very apparent that everything went downhill very quickly after this. After entrusting the care of three generations of family pets for over 20 years to this veterinary group it wasn’t an easy decision to leave but the corporate running of the practice meant that the place was unrecognisable from the place we had known for decades. We made the decision to register with your Westergate practice and we haven’t looked back. Outstanding care from a vet who is known to us previously and it has been a huge relief to me and my family that we have a independent vet that we can trust rely on again who can crucially provide continuity of care for our much loved pets. I’m so glad I made the decision to move to your practice.

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