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FOR many companion animal clients, little incentive is needed to switch practice. Vets therefore have to work hard for the trust of clients and, if trust is not earned, clients will change and use another vet.
This was the view expressed by Murray Jones, a practice owner with Ashman Jones, who was part of a panel discussing the future of companion animal practice in the UK during a debate at the recent Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS)/Veterinary Practice Management Association (VPMA) congress in Newport. The panel also included John Goulding, of St George's Veterinary Group, Erwin Hohn, of Medivet, and Simon Innes, of CVS.
The starting point for the debate was an analysis from a discussion day involving representatives of the companion animal industry, which was published as a supplement to Veterinary Record in January. At the SPVS/VPMA congress debate, Ned Flaxman, from Zoetis, who chaired the session, presented some of the data and conclusions from the discussion day before focusing the panel on two areas that had been considered likely to have a high impact on companion animal practice over the next 10 years – the ‘bargaining power’ of clients and the threat from new competition.
Mr Innes agreed that he thought clients were becoming less loyal. However, across the panel, it was felt that differentiating a practice and offering a better service than local competitors …
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