To those of you who feel that more options are needed in the world of veterinary referral work please read on...
In general practice there will always be those situations that need the full referral package, but for many more all that might be required is some extra expertise and specialist equipment. This would allow a greater insight into the diagnosis and management of a particular case and ensure that the first-opinion veterinary surgeon retains a much greater degree of governance over those cases.
An appointment will be made so I arrive at a pre-arranged time. The case will dictate if a consultation is needed with the pet owner. In many cases this will be preferable so that client expectations in complicated medicine cases can be managed from an early stage.
On occasions I am prepared to carry out specialised procedures in isolation following a review of the case to ensure that the procedure is appropriate. My aim is to be fairly self-sufficient, but where possible I will be using your equipment and consumables and specific expensive items e.g. PEG tubes will need to be ordered to requirement.
A report will be generated within 24 hours of the visit. The level of my involvement after the visit is likely to vary from case to case. I would anticipate putting a plan into place for ongoing management by the host practice. Some cases may require follow up visits by myself and there will still be those very ill patients that would be better being referred on to a 24 hour care facility if this cannot be provided locally. Some thought needs to be put into deciding if a case suits this in-house referral approach. You should not delay referring very sick cases to traditional referral centres if this is what the animal needs.