In order to place our transactions on a proper footing, avoid misunderstanding and demonstrate our dedication to the care of your pet, we have summarised the terms and conditions of service under which treatments and sales are made by Heathfield Vets Ltd. Only the proprietors of Heathfield Vets have the authority to alter these conditions and by registering and attending the practice you agree to be bound by them.
Our commitment to you – Heathfield Vets Ltd aims to provide a highly professional, caring, supportive, understanding and friendly environment for you and all your pets. All of our team are highly trained and we are committed to constantly striving to attain the highest standards of care.
Registering at Heathfield Vets – To allow us to comply fully with the various regulatory authorities you will be asked to sign a registration form. The form will detail that you have received these notes, and will ask you for your personal details as well as how you would like to be contacted by us for reminders etc.
Our Fees – All fees, consumables and drug charges are subject to VAT at the current rate. We set our fees on the basis of covering the costs of providing a service of the highest quality. In addition, we are constantly striving for improvement by investing in further education courses for our team members, and the development of the surgery in terms of our building, technology and facilities. You will receive a detailed invoice for every consultation, surgical procedure or transaction with us. Estimates are provided on request – see below.
Methods of payment – We request that all outstanding balances are settled at the time of consultation, upon discharge of your pet from our hospital or at the time of collection of medication or food. Where accounts are sent we require full payment within 7 days of receipt of the invoice. Your account may be settled using:
3. Credit/Debit card – Switch, Solo, Delta, MasterCard or Visa
4. BACS (Bank Automated Credit Service)
Payment for veterinary services – Unfortunately, there is no National Health Service for pets and as a result you are responsible for the payment of your pet’s veterinary bills. Heathfield Vets provides caring, conscientious and modern treatment for your pets, but can only continue to do so if our clients pay promptly, so we have set our fees on the basis that the work is paid for at the time of consultation or collection after operation.
Out of hours clients – If your pet is admitted for a procedure, the full estimate must be paid on admission. Any balance on the account must be settled upon collection of your pet. If a refund is owed to you, this will be settled at this time.
When you register with this practice you agree to settle fees on this basis. We accept cash and for your convenience, most credit and debit cards. We make no surcharges for the use of credit cards. Instalments or part payments of any accounts may be sanctioned ONLY with the express permission of a partner or the practice manager and must be discussed prior to any treatment commencing.
With regard to insured pets, it is our policy that clients settle their bills in full at the time of treatment, and claim reimbursement from their insurers. In order to make a claim, please submit a completed and signed claims form to us and we will add the veterinary information before posting to the insurance company on your behalf.
Unpaid Fees – Any special, quantity or off peak discount will be lost and a revised invoice issued which will supersede any original. Any subsequent costs required to secure your payment will be charged in full, together with any account fees which have been added to the outstanding amount.
Estimates – We will happily provide you with a written estimate of the probable costs of a course of treatment or operation. Please bear in mind that any estimate given can only be approximate as individual cases do not always follow a conventional course. We will always try to keep you informed of costs as they arise.
Supply of Medicines – Legally we can supply veterinary medicines only to animals under our care. This implies periodic re-examinations at intervals which will vary with the individual case, usually every three to six months. There is a charge for re-examination and any necessary monitoring tests. For routine prophylactic treatment (e.g. flea and worm treatments) it is practice policy to re-assess annually.
Consultations & Check ups – When we take on a case, it becomes our responsibility to attend the patient as dictated by the clinical opinion of the veterinary surgeon in charge and an appropriate consultation fee is charged on each occasion to cover the veterinary surgeon’s and nurse’s time and the use of our facilities.
Late and Missed Appointments – When you make an appointment with us, we set aside time exclusively for you and your pet and if you miss your appointment, this time is wasted. If you are late, we may not be able to give you the full time originally set aside for you in consideration of the schedule of following clients. If you arrive after the end of your scheduled time, we may not be able to see you at all at that time. All missed appointments will be charged for unless reasonable notice of cancellation is given.
Prepayment – We are able to organise prepayment facilities for planned work such as bitch spays so that by the day of the operation the fee is already paid. This is with the understanding that if any unforseen additional costs arise, these are payable on the day of the treatment.
Ownership of Records – The treatment of your pet may involve making specific investigations, for example, taking radiographs or performing ultrasound scans. Even though we make a charge for carrying out these investigations and interpreting the results, the ownership of the resulting record, for example, a radiograph, remains with us.
Uncollected animals – If we treat a pet in the surgery and you do not pay for the treatment or if you fail to collect the animal when ready for collection, as your agents, we may take measures to move it from our premises, including possible re-homing. We will give you seven days written notice of this before we do so. You will be liable to pay our charges for looking after the animal whilst it is in our care and for the costs of moving it.
In the unfortunate event that your pet passes away whilst in our care, we will contact you to discuss cremation and carry this out in accordance with your instructions. If we do not receive your instructions within 3 working days of notification, we will be entitled to cremate your pet as we think fit and you will be liable to pay our charges for doing so.
Animal Insurance – We recommend, strongly, that you consider insuring your pet for veterinary fees. This means that you can choose the very best and most complete course of treatment, including expert referral if necessary, without having to worry about the cost. Under the regulations of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) we are authorised to promote and administer the claims of the insurance company PetPlan, exclusively. Please ask for details of PetPlan insurance from any member of staff, but be aware that with any insurance company it is your responsibility to determine your level of cover and to then reclaim any fees that you have paid to the practice.
We will happily complete the veterinary section of the claim form for you for whichever insurer you choose. All dog owners should ensure that they have third party cover as you are, in law, responsible for the actions of your dog. For example, if your pet causes harm to another person/animal, or is involved in an incident which causes harm to another person/animal, you may be liable. Pet insurance usually covers this risk, as can some household insurance. It is definitely worthwhile checking that you are covered.
Direct Claims to Pet Insurance Companies – In exceptional circumstances, and at the partners’ discretion, we may agree to a direct claim to an insurance company on your behalf, leaving you only the policy excess and any policy exclusions to be paid at the time of treatment.
We make a small administration charge in order to do so. In order to do this, we will require the following at the time of treatment:-
1. We need to have sight, and take a copy, of the original policy document.
2. We need a signed claims form. Please obtain one at your earliest convenience and keep it with your insurance policy.
3. We will ask you to sign a form which acknowledges and accepts that you are liable for paying any outstanding balance once the claim has been settled by the insurance company or in the event that the claim is not settled within two months.
You remain liable for the full amount of the account at all times. Where there is an unacceptable delay or where the insurance company refuses to pay, we shall ask you to make immediate settlement of the account. Should you be unable to produce a valid signed claim form within 14 days of request, you will be expected to settle your account with us in full.
Returned Medicines – Under the terms of the Medicines Act we do not give any credit for unused and returned medicines once they have left the premises. However, we will pay for their safe disposal, at our cost, if we have provided them for you. Please bear this in mind when requesting a long term supply of medicines. We reserve the right to make a charge for the safe disposal of medicines not provided by us.
Prescriptions – You may obtain prescription only medicines from your veterinary surgeon, or ask for a written prescription and obtain these medicines from another veterinary surgeon or pharmacy. We make a small charge for the time involved in writing such prescriptions.
Repeat Prescriptions – Please give us at least 24 hours notice by telephone or in person before collecting medications so we can ensure that your order is ready for you. Requests made on a Friday may not be available until Monday afternoon depending on our supplier’s delivery schedule. Please note that once a prescription has left the practice premises, it is considered used and the cost cannot be refunded.
Postage – We shall be entitled to charge a reasonable amount to cover our time, materials and postage costs, all of which are subject to VAT. Postage of medications and written prescriptions by ‘signed for’ mail only.
Complaints – We hope that you never have recourse to complain about the standards of service received from Heathfield Vets Ltd. However, if you do have any concerns, please direct your comments, in the first instance, to the Practice Manager.Feedback – We are always pleased to receive feedback on the service we provide via email, on our website or directly to a member of our team.
Variations in Terms and Conditions of Business – No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the practice unless it is specifically agreed in writing and signed by one of the directors. No agent or person employed by, or under contract with, the practice has the authority to alter or vary these conditions in any way. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Please ask in practice for the latest version.