Returning to (Somewhat) Normal Service!

Following what seems like a lifetime of disruption here at Gawler Animal Hospital, I’m delighted to announce that we’re finally returning to (somewhat) normal service! Our entire client base has been very understanding of the restrictions we’ve had to put in place to help minimise risk of disease transmission recently. However, I’m sure that you’ll be happy to know we’re going to be gradually working towards allowing clients back into the building.

We’re confident that this will make life easier for all concerned (clients and staff). Whilst we’re excited about this, we’d also like to ask for your patience as we don’t want to jump too far ahead of ourselves or to put anyone at any unnecessary risk.

As such, I’d like to spell out what we propose to do and how we’ll resume a more normal service.

  • We’ll still need to limit use of our waiting room
    • As of Monday 1st June, we’ll be bringing clients back into the clinic
    • To minimise risk of Covid transmission, we’ll still be asking clients to wait in their cars until we’re ready to bring them inside.
    • As has been the case over the last few weeks, we’ll ask that you call us when you arrive and let us know where you’re parked (assuming you’re driving). We’re also developing an SMS system that will allow you to let us know by text that you’re here
    • Our consult nurse will call you and take an initial history before asking you to come in to the waiting room
    • We’ll ask you to stay in the waiting room while our vets and/or nurses complete the exam After this, we’ll invite you into the consult room to discuss our findings and to make a plan for your pet.
    • Our receptionists can then provide you with any required medication, make any further bookings and take payment at the reception desk
  • To maintain distancing rules, we’ll only have one owner per pet in the building
    • To allow us to comply with government advice on ‘social distancing’, we’ll still need to put a strict limit of one owner per pet in the building – sorry!
    • We’ll also have floor markings to separate staff from owners – much as we’d like to have free interaction with you, it’s not a great idea right now so please respect these guidelines and ‘Pause on the Paws’!
    • We’ll continue to be as careful as possible in terms of staff taking precautions, as you can clearly see from the featured image showing Dr Dave and Dr Steve practicing Covid-safe greetings!!
  • We’ve set up hand sanitiser stations – please use them!
    • We’ll have a hand sanitiser bottle at each entrance to the building – please use this before coming into the consult room and/or the reception area
  • It will take a very hardy bug to survive our cleaning regime!
    • As we’ve described before, we have a comprehensive hygiene system in place that involves cleaning the consult room, the doors and any other surfaces that may have been contaminated for each visit
    • We’ve always been very good at maintaining a clean environment but we’ve had plenty of opportunity to fine-tune this system over the last few weeks, believe me!
  • Our phone system is being hammered with calls so we’ll be making use of our own phones to contact you
    • To reduce congestion on our phone lines, our staff will be using their own phones to call you in the carpark
    • Please ensure you’re able to take this call and please don’t be put off if you see a ‘No Caller ID’ flashing up on your screen!!
  • We’ll continue to streamline both hospital admissions and discharges
    • Admissions
      • When admitting a pet for surgery or for hospital treatment, we’ll go through the same process as above for consultations
      • Our hospital nurses will go through the procedure, an estimate and a hospital or anaesthetic consent form.
        • Although normally we’d ask you to sign this, we’re currently noting your verbal consent so that we don’t risk paper contamination
        • Even better, send the signed form to us in advance!
      • Discharges
        • As soon as we’ve completed your pets procedure, we’ll send you a text to let you know all has gone well.
        • Once we’ve had a chance to write up notes and a completed invoice, the nurse or vet involved will give you a call to explain how things have gone.
        • We’ll then create follow-up appointments and go through payment over the phone (where possible)
        • When you come to collect your pet, everything will have already been done and so it’s a simple matter of handing over any medications and you can then have a happy reunion!
      • ‘Garden’ consults have proven popular so we’ll continue to offer these
        • One thing we’ve discovered through this Coronavirus pandemic is that our enclosed garden area at the back of the hospital is a great place to hold an outdoor consult
        • Many dogs (not so great for cats as we don’t want them panicking and jumping the fence!) are more relaxed if they don’t have to come inside. There’s also a bit more space (and its outdoors) so lower risk of disease transmission (for the humans, that is!)
        • If you’d prefer this, please ask the receptionists when you make the booking.
        • Might be a bit chilly at this time of year so make sure you rug up. We do have a large undercover area so rain is not a major problem as long as it’s not coming sideways!!
      • You can still collect medication and pet food but we’ll do this at the front door
        • As with consults, please call us when you arrive.
        • We can go through payment over the phone and make sure we have everything prepared for you to pick up at the front door
      • We’ve found that emailing receipts, invoices and estimates has saved a lot of paper so we’ll carry on doing that
        • Great for the environment and also reduces contamination risk for all concerned
      • Where possible, please pay electronically
        • We would appreciate payments of services to be by paywave or direct debit where possible
        • This allows us to minimise handling of cash.
      • If you’re unwell or in quarantine, we have a plan for you!
        • If you are being quarantined or are unwell, please let us know so that we can create a plan for your pet which keeps everyone as safe as possible.
        • We’ll still see to your pets needs but we just need to be extra careful not to spread the virus
        • This also applies to dispensing medication or food that you may need.
        • If need be, we’ll deliver food and medication directly to you
  • It’s a great idea to wash your dog before coming in (if practical)
    • In theory, dogs can still carry the virus on their coats if handled by an infected owner
    • To try and reduce any risk, the advice is not to cuddle your pet too closely and to wash them regularly where possible
  • In the event of a second wave of infection, we may be forced to go back to our previous and more stringent separation strategy
    • We’re all hoping this will not be required but it would be foolish to ignore this possibility
    • Of course, we’ll keep you informed if any such measures are required

Although there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the Covid situation, it’s been fantastic to see such a good response from everyone – around Gawler, South Australia and the whole country! As pet owners and clients of Gawler Animal Hospital, you’ve been amazingly supportive of what we’ve been obliged to do to help contain this virus. I know it’s been pretty disruptive for you and certainly quite a logistical challenge for all of our staff members (who have been brilliant in their own response, IMHO!). Right now, we’re looking forward to welcoming you back into the building and providing you with the friendly, supportive and face-to-face service that you’re used to!! In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call on 8522 3500.

If any of these stories that we publish are of interest to you and if you like our service, we’d encourage you to review us either by adding a comment to the blog, by visiting our FaceBook page or by reviewing us on Google. We rely heavily on word of mouth for our new clients and your (positive, hopefully!) recommendations are hugely helpful!


Gawler Animal Hospital

Your full-service, high quality, locally-owned veterinary practice.

Offering a wide range of pet-care options from vaccinations up to complex medical and surgical treatments.

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