When we opened in Burton-Upon-Trent in 2011, fixed-price surgery was a “new” idea in the veterinary referral world. Those practices offering fixed prices were very few and far between.
A few are now following the trend with fixed prices for some procedures like cruciate ligament surgeries, but we are proud to say that our fixed prices for cruciate surgeries are highly competitive – often under 50% – of what is being charged elsewhere. We are able to offer this value for money because our complication rates are low and our overheads are relatively low. Our fixed prices for surgical cases include all follow-up checks in normal working hours and all post-operative radiography with us.
West Midlands Referrals offers fixed prices for almost all surgery cases, not just the standard, elective procedures like cruciate ligament injury.
These fixed prices assume that payment is made before discharge, and the fixed price includes:
- Referral consultation.
- Hospitalisation on the day of surgery. Overnight hospitalisation and ongoing hospitalisation are chargeable.
- Digital radiography, as many exposures as required, including follow-up radiography for the same problem. We put no limit on the number of radiographic exposures that we will take to follow up on the same problem, and these can be on an unlimited number of occasions.
- Anaesthesia, with pre-op blood checks and intravenous fluid therapy as standard.
- Patient monitoring with advanced multiparameter equipment throughout as standard.
- Surgery, surgical consumables, catheters & implants.
- Analgesia, anti-inflammatory & routine antibiotic therapy to cover the patient’s needs over the first five days post-op.
- Elizabethan collars to prevent wound interference and initial post-operative dressings.
- For surgical cases, our fixed prices include all subsequent post-operative check-ups with us during regular working hours for the same problem. We put no limit on the number of these checkups. For most medicine cases, follow-up consults are often chargeable, as some of these cases can’t be “fixed” by surgery and need ongoing checks well into the future. Please ask whether your case will likely need ongoing checks and what ongoing charges are expected.
We don’t make annoying additions to your bill for the odd extra dressing here or for an extra dressing there.
We don’t make extra charges for drips or extra charges for processing insurance claim forms. We can usually manage to obtain follow-up radiographs with your pet unsedated. Still, if we need to sedate them to get images, we usually wouldn’t make any further charge for the sedation if chemical restraint would generally be required for patients to get diagnostic views (eg for hip xrays).
For most cases such as cruciate ligament ruptures, joint replacements, most fractures, ear canal surgery, laryngeal surgery, etc., we agree a fixed price in advance. If we are sent the case history, photos and radiographs, we can often do this before we even see the pet!
So what isn’t covered by the fixed price scheme?!
- Anything that is done at or by another practice is chargeable by them, including check-up consults, suture removal, hospitalisation, x-rays, blood tests, dressings, scans, provision of further medications etc.
- Our fixed prices don’t include medication beyond the first routine re-check, which is usually 3-5 days post-operatively and this first re-check will often be at your normal veterinary practice. So any ongoing drugs required (eg antibiotic and anti-inflammatory) would usually be supplied by the referring general practice and would be chargeable by them.
- Fixed prices don’t typically include the costs of pathology investigations like blood tests or histopathology carried out by external laboratories unless these tests were something expected as part of the procedure when the inclusion of these costs within the fixed price will need to have been specifically agreed in advance.
- Fixed prices don’t include prolonged inpatient care or overnight hospital care.
- There may be a need to make additional charges if the patient requires unexpected intensive care or very close/continuous supervision in the post-operative period.
- Our fixed prices don’t typically include revision surgery, or surgery to remove implants when this is required unless we have agreed this in advance. It is the nature of surgery that complications will occur from time to time. However we pride ourselves on being accessible, reasonable and generous to assist with any further surgery that is required.
- We aren't a general practice and have a more limited pharmacy availabilty than most general practices. So we don't stock certain anti-biotics for example, and may require owners to purchase these at thier own additional expense from their own vet.
- For most medicine cases, follow up consults are often chargeable, as some of these cases can’t be “fixed” by surgery, and need ongoing checks well into the future. Please ask whether your case is likely to need ongoing checks and what ongoing charges are expected.
We reserve the right to make charges for any sedation that is required for interventions like dressings or X-rays where we would not normally expect to need to sedate patients (ie where we would usually expect a patient to tolerate redresses and/or xrays).
So we reserve the right to charge for sedation where, because of patient nerves or aggression, we have to give sedation for the safety of staff and/or for the protection of the patient (eg to avoid over-stressing fracture repairs during the early healing process). Fixed prices may need to be surcharged if an individual patient has special medical needs, for example if they are diabetic.
We reserve the price to charge for extra dressings if the dressing hasn't been protected from mutilation by the use of an Elizabethan collar.
Our general anaesthetic fees include pre-operative biochemistry and haematology checks; if there is a need for follow up blood tests (eg because of abnormalities detected) these would be chargeable.
Some cases (eg portosystemic shunts) are advised to have follow up blood tests and/or ultrasound scans several weeks post-op to assess the success of the procedure and these are chargeable. Such blood tests might be done at the referring general practice.
Fixed prices may need to be surcharged if there is a need for unexpected extra care like blood transfusions for example. Please rest assured that the need for an unexpected blood transfusion is very, very rare!
If you think you are going to struggle to pay the bill, please be sure to ask in advance of the procedure being performed, and we’ll see what we can do to help.