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TERMS & CONDITIONS

Thank you for entrusting the care and attention of your pet to Chantry Vets. This document details our Practice Terms and Conditions. By registering your pet/pets with the Practice you agree that you have read and understood our conditions of business and agree to be bound by them, should you require any clarification of any aspect of the terms then please ask.

1) FEE LEVELS

All fees, diets and drug charges are available upon request and are subject to VAT at the current rate. Fee levels are determined by the levels 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.

The Client will receive a receipt for over-the-counter payments and should retain these receipts for future reference. If requested, a detailed invoice can be provided for every consultation, surgical procedure or transaction. For work undertaken on surgery premises, fees remaining (after deposits) are due for settlement at the end of the consultation, the discharge of the animal from hospital, completion of examination/vaccination/surgical procedure or upon collection of medicines etc. Charges from third parties, such as external laboratories, will be added to the invoice at the time of consultation/surgical procedure, with payment expected as per the above terms.  These charges may be subject to change if the third party charge is more than anticipated.  In these circumstances, an invoice will be generated as soon as the third party charges have been received.  Payment is expected within 7 days of invoice.

For work undertaken away from the veterinary premises, unless the Client is an authorised account holder, the Practice will ask for payment by debit/credit card before the visit.

Receiving an invoice for monies owed to the Practice, does NOT make the Client an authorised account holder.

2) APPOINTMENTS AND CONSULTATIONS

Clients and their animals are attended to by Veterinary Surgeons (or where applicable) Registered Veterinary Nurses, by appointment only. The allocation of an appointment is the basis of charging for consultations. We reserve the right to charge a consultation fee for frequently missed appointments or surgical admissions. Post operative re-checks (with the exception of routine neutering and dental procedures) are chargeable.  Where applicable, bandage changing fees are charged in addition to consultation fees, for each scheduled appointment.

Each practice site will display normal opening hours and these will vary according to the individual premises and day of the week.  Information regarding opening hours for each surgery may also be found on the Practice website. The Alverthorpe Hospital and our Castleford Veterinary Centre offer weekend opening for which an additional surcharge will be applied for any surgical procedures performed during these hours. The Alverthorpe Hospital also provides a routine and emergency service on Bank Holidays, with the exception of Christmas Day.  Additional surcharges will be applied for surgical procedures performed during Bank Holiday opening hours and we reserve the right to charge a higher fee for consultations during this period.

3) SETTLEMENT TERMS

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 will 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. While it is our policy to co-operate with our clients whenever possible, if payment is not made in accordance with our terms, then debts will be escalated for further action and may include to the County Court to issue proceedings.  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.

Should the Client default on a payment, either at the time of the transaction or any pre-agreed payment plan, inc. account holders, for any reason, the Practice reserves the right to suspend services and to refuse to attend to any animal registered at the Client’s home address, until full payment is received.  Goods which have not been paid for will remain the property of the Practice until payment is received in full.

If the debt is a business to business debt, then we will pursue payment of all charges and interest to which we are entitled under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 including our Administrative costs. If outstanding accounts are referred for legal proceedings the Court Fees and Legal Costs will also be claimed.

If the Practice agrees to retain the Client with a previous payment default record, all future transactions will be on a strictly cash only and payment at the time, in advance of treatment, basis.

4) 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 be sanctioned with the express permission of the Practice Manager, Deputy Practice Manager or Operations Manager, but any such arrangement must be agreed before treatment takes place.  Emergency first aid to alleviate suffering will always be given irrespective of ability to pay.

5) 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. Card payments can no longer be taken over the phone, however direct payment links can be sent to your phone upon request. BACS payments are to be paid to the bank account shown on the foot of your invoice, and should include as an account’s reference your surname and postcode.  If you can’t locate these details, please call your local practice.  The Practice does not accept cheques.

In cases where a patient is admitted for disease investigation, surgery and/or prolonged treatment (and where Insurance Claim Direct approval is not in place) the Practice will require payment of some or all of the estimated fees in advance of starting treatment.  Deposits will be required of 50% of the estimate for balances under £1000.  For anticipated balances of over £1000, then 100% of the estimate will be required. With ongoing cases, the Practice may require the Client to make interim payments.  We reserve the right to request additional payments towards treatment costs at any time.

6) PAYMENT TERMS – INSURED PETS

Chantry Vets strongly supports the principle of insuring your pet against unexpected illness and accidents. Please ask for details of insurance from any member of staff but be aware that Chantry Vets are unable to recommend specific insurance companies nor levels of cover.  It is the Client’s responsibility  to determine level of cover and then to reclaim any fees the Client has paid the Practice. It is also the Client’s responsibility to pay any excess that may be set according to the policy and to have knowledge of any condition exclusions. In certain instances, arrangements can be made for insurance companies to make their payment directly to the Practice but this only applies to particular insurance companies.

At the Practice’s discretion, it may be possible with the evidence of a valid and appropriate insurance policy in place, to approve a Claim Direct facility.  The Practice may take payment of the policy excess (es) and payment for all goods not covered by the policy, providing the claim form instructs the insurers for direct payment to be made to the Practice. Claim Direct approval will be required for each new condition or new period of insurance.  The Client will be required to contact the Insurance Company and give permission to discuss the Patient’s policy with the Practice.  The Client will also be responsible for providing a full medical history of the patient in advance of Claim Direct requests.

A Claim Direct approval by the Practice is not a guarantee of payment.  Should this be required by the Client’s insurer, the Client may request that a pre authorisation be arranged (if offered by the Insurer and clinically appropriate).  Clients must request this from the Insurance Department at the time of Claim Direct request.  If Claim Direct is declined by the Practice, Clients may still submit a claim form for treatment upon settling the account, as per Clause 5.

Agreement of a direct claim does not transfer liability of fees incurred to the Practice. If at any point the insurer refuses payment for a direct claim, the owner will still be fully liable for all costs incurred. The insurance policy is a private agreement between the owner and insurer. The Practice cannot be involved in disputes over non-payment of insurance claims. We allow 30 days from completion of claim form to receiving settlement. Should the insurer not settle within that time period, the owner may be required to settle the outstanding fees in full.

7) ESTIMATES OF TREATMENT COSTS

The Practice can provide an estimate of probable costs for procedures and treatment although such treatments and procedures may not follow a conventional course and therefore an estimate can only be approximate.  Any estimate given can only be approximate and additional costs which cannot be predicted at the outset may occur as treatments progresses. We will make every reasonable effort to discuss any such additional costs wherever possible.  Written estimates are valid for one month and as they are estimates only, they may not reflect the final costs incurred.

Should the Practice need to contact the Client whilst the patient is under General Anaesthetic and the client is unavailable, the Practice reserves the right to proceed with treatment.  Decisions with regards to treatment will be made in the patients best interests by the treating Veterinary Surgeon.  The Client will remain liable for these treatment costs and payment is expected under the terms expressed in Clause 5.  Any overpayments based upon estimates will be refunded on request.

8) VACCINATION REMINDERS

Whilst we make every reasonable effort to send out reminders for annual vaccinations, the responsibility to keep them up to date remains with you. Please be aware that PETS passports require rabies vaccination boosters so please keep a personal record of when this is due.

Clients may choose to opt out of the Practice reminder system at any time and should follow the instructions on the reminder or contact the Practice to do so.  There is no charge to be removed from the reminder scheme.

9) PAYMENT TERMS – ACCOUNT HOLDERS

The Practice can only consider account facilities to certain commercial and charitable enterprises and the issuing of invoices and statements is a service provision for those who agree with the payment terms of 30 days from invoice date. Requests for Account Terms must be made in advance of treatment with adequate notice and may be agreed to, solely by the Director, Practice Manager or Deputy Practice Manager.  The Practice may apply fees in cases of non-payment and late payment and reserves the right to withdraw the account facility at any time. Charges for non-payment and late payment will be shown on subsequent statements. Statements are issued at least monthly. Refer to Clause 7 Payment Defaults.

10) HOME VISITS

In an emergency, it is usually in the best interest of your pet to be seen at the surgery where facilities and a full range of drugs are available. It is not normally possible to carry out home visits. Where an estimate is given, a 50% deposit may be required prior to commencement/ continuation of the proposed treatment plan. Full payment of the estimate is required for caesarean sections.

11) PHARMACEUTICALS

  1. Prescriptions are available from the 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, (POMVs) 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 POMVs 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 prescriptions every three months, but this may vary with individual circumstances. The charge for this re-examination is our standard consultation fee. 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 48 hours’ notice for repeat prescriptions.

We strongly advise the regular use of routine anti-parasitic medication. Many of these products are POMVs and legally we are only able to dispense such products without the need of an examination when an animal has been examined by a Veterinary Surgeon in the last 12 months. We may therefore be required to examine your pet prior to dispensing.

In accordance with the Medicines Act we will always use a veterinary licensed product. Should this not be available we will then use veterinary products licensed for use in other species and failing that a human medical product. Any use of off-license medication will be based upon or knowledge of its use in animals and an assessment made of the risk 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.

Unused medications that are returned to the Practice will be sent for disposal.  The Practice is unable to offer refunds for any medications that have left the Practice premises as we are unable to guarantee the storage conditions and continued efficacy of such items.  Charges may be levied for the disposal of certain medications and ‘sharps’.

12) EMERGENCY COVER

The Practice provides an out-of-hours emergency service for problems of an urgent nature.  This service is offered at the Alverthorpe Hospital between the hours of 8pm to Midnight Monday-Friday and can be accessed by calling the Hospital number on 01924 362464.  Outside these hours, provisions are offered by Leeds Emergency Vets, 52 Commercial Road, Morley, Leeds, LS27 8AG, who have agreed to provide the remaining out-of-hours service for all Clients of the Practice.  The telephone number for Leeds Emergency Vets is provided to clients through the telephone answering-machine. Clients will be charged a higher fee by the duty Veterinary Surgeon for consultations during the out-of-hours service. Home visits are not usually practical out-of-hours and clients will need to make arrangements for patients to be brought to a veterinary surgery.

The Alverthorpe Hospital is closed on Christmas Day.   During this time callers will be recommended to contact Leeds Emergency Hospital as above.  The Alverthorpe Hospital provides a routine and emergency service on all other Bank Holidays. The Alverthorpe Hospital does not offer out-of-hours provision between 8pm and Midnight during Bank holidays.   During this time callers will be advised to contact Leeds Emergency Hospital as above.

13) 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 the complete and comprehensive records. Charges made for x-rays are for the production and interpretation of them. If required, we can arrange copies of the x-rays but this will be chargeable to the Client.

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.

14) COMPLIMENTS/FEEDBACK

We are always pleased to receive compliments/feedback on the service we provide.

15) COMPLAINTS AND STANDARDS

We hope to ensure you never have recourse 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 within 28 days in writing, to the Client Care Manager, Chantry Vets, 180 Batley Road Alverthorpe Wakefield WF2 0AJ. An acknowledgement will be sent by return and then a period will elapse whilst the case is investigated and reports collated from those staff involved. A reply in writing will follow, usually within 28 days although the period may be longer if the Client Care Manager of staff involved are temporary unavailable or delayed.

We will not tolerate any aggressive, or abusive behaviour to any staff member, at any time.  Any client behaving in such a way will be asked to leave the premises immediately and will then be notified in writing that they must find alternative veterinary cover.

16) VARIATIONS IN TERMS AND CONDITIONS OR BUSINESS

No addition or variation of these conditions will bind the Practice unless specifically agreed in writing by the partners. Additionally, no agent or person employed by or under contract with the Practice has the authority to alter or vary these terms and conditions in any way.