Dear valued clients,
As many of you are aware, these last years have been extremely challenging for the veterinary community. Globally, the veterinary profession has been faced with a serious crisis. We have experienced a shortage of veterinary professionals firsthand in the Kootenays. On top of this, the local veterinary community has been faced with an overwhelming increase in demand for both emergent and non-emergent veterinary care.
This demand, coupled with the shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technicians, has resulted in burnout and mental and physical exhaustion amongst many veterinary professionals in the area.
Historically, after-hours emergency service has been offered based on the preferences and capabilities of each individual veterinary clinic.
In the Kootenays, the veterinary community unfortunately does not have the luxury of an emergency referral practice within a reasonable driving distance, which would greatly help mitigate the volume of emergency calls those local veterinarians and veterinary technicians are faced with on a daily basis. While the clinics in our community have managed to provide uninterrupted emergency care in the past, this task has become too overwhelming for the few clinics to maintain.
Our goal is to find a way to provide consistent emergency after-hours care in the East Kootenays, in a way that is sustainable, and that will preserve the health and longevity of our veterinary community.
With careful consideration, we have formed a cooperative group with all clinics in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Creston, and Invermere, to share the increased demand for emergency after-hours care in our region. As a group, we strive to achieve a sustainable and reliable after-hours network. This partnership is a fluid arrangement that may evolve as the needs of our community change. The call sharing is based on available team members per clinic, with clinics with more team members offering more coverage and clinics with fewer team members offering less coverage.
What does that mean for Steeples Veterinary Clinic clients?
Beginning now, all of our after-hours calls will be triaged by an experienced registered veterinary technician, who will help you determine whether emergency service is required and if so direct you appropriately. If your pet requires emergency care, you will be directed to the clinic on call for that particular day, and the on-call veterinarian will be given all details of the call and anticipated arrival time, to make the admittance process as smooth as possible.
The majority of the time, the clinic on-call will be located in Cranbrook. However, there will be occasions where travel to Creston, Invermere, or Fernie may be required. While we truly understand how inconvenient this may be, the alternative would be to refer our clients to the nearest veterinary emergency center, which would be a minimum of 3 to 4 hours away, and which we really want to avoid.
We are confident that this partnership, referred to as the East Kootenay Veterinary Group (EKVG), will succeed in maintaining the consistent level of emergency after-hours care that is imperative for the health and well-being of our veterinary community and to those who count on our community’s veterinary clinics for these services.
The EKVG would like to highlight that this new partnership will allow for high-level, consistent, and, most importantly, sustainable emergency after-hours care for our community.
We thank you for your understanding, and we appreciate your kindness and patience as we get the fine details of this new partnership smoothed out.
We are thankful to live in a community where local clinics are able to come together in times like these, and we are confident that this will translate to even better service for our clients.
Steeples Veterinary Clinic