Out of Hours


"Matt Smith Vets" is open 6 days a week. It is very unlikely that you will need a vet outside the opening times. But what if you do?

There are 2 main types of "out of hour" care in the UK and they do vary in several aspects. I have personal experience of being part of both types of care over many years. For pets and their owners there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of care and I hope to give a fair unbiased opinion on a matter that is important to some pet owners.

The first is in house care where you are treated at your own practice. Over the past decade practices doing their own out of hours have become increasingly rare. It is normally found in larger practices where the vets will take it in turn to be "on-call". Most of the time vets work the days before and after the night shift, therefore working continous shifts of over 30 hours at a time. If your pet is hospitalised overnight it is worthwhile asking what level of care your pet will be receiving as in my experience it is common for vets to just be "popping in" now and again. This sensibly has to be expected - no one can perform 30 hours without sleep. It is also sensible to expect vets to only see patients that they think need seeing - and not necessarily those that the pet owner think need seeing. With the vets taking turns to do night shifts it will not always be your usual vet that sees your pet anyway. That said, there are of course advantages to practices seeing their own patients. It is a familiar location for the pet owner, your notes are easily accessible, pets don't need to be transferred, it is usually more local and quicker to get to and you are normally going somewhere that you have an established relationship.

The second type of out of hours care is a dedicated out of hours clinic. This type of care is by far the most common in the UK. For a pet owner it can be daunting going somewhere new. Depending on the out of hour provider prices can vary and some procedures can be substantially more costly.  In my experience you're paying for a different service though - your paying for a vet and nurse to be onsite all night, every night. Your pets are not left by themselves. The vets are trained in emergency critical care and don't work during the day. I have worked for several years in multiple veterinary out of hours providers and have my own opinion of which offer the best service. 

I think that the common public perception is that in house out of hours care is "the best". I can understand why pet owners have this opinion and I don't expect to change opinions but I hope that you can see there are advantages to both types of care.

As a single vet practice it is simply impossible for me to do my own out of hours. No one can work 168 hours a week. At this time, the council also has a restrictive covenant on the building not allowing me to do my own out of hours. I can assure you I have explored at length every other possibility. I have made a balanced decision based on several factors relating to what I think is best for you and your pets. These include quality of service, cost to pet owners, location and reputation. 

The out of hours provider I am using is Mi night Vets. The most local to the practice is just under 30 minutes away at Springfield Vets, Rotherham, S60 2AD Tel: 01709 377 241. There is also a surgery at Priory Vets, Beeston, NG9 2TJ Tel: 0115 943 0898.

Again, giving an honest opinion, it is a little further than ideal. I would say though that the journey is an easy route and I'd encourage you to familiarise yourself with it in the unlikely event you ever need it. Consultation prices are similar to in house out of hours care. Estimates for procedures are readily given and free telephone advice is also available. I have found them to be a very friendly caring service.

I have arrangements that should the emergency vet need your medical records they may (but not always) be obtained.

In the event of an out of hours emergency, phone the normal practice number and you will be instructed on how to contact Springfield Vets.