All veterinary surgeries must provide emergency cover outside normal consulting hours for registered clients and those who are not registered with any veterinary surgeon. It is quite acceptable for clients of other practices to be directed to their own vet in case of an emergency. It is not a requirement for any individual practice or veterinary surgeon to provide the cover themselves so clients should be aware that they may be required to attend at another veterinary surgeon out of hours.

1. How to contact the vet in case of case of emergency

In case of emergency or when urgent advice is needed you should call the practice on 01229 820402 regardless of whether the practice is open or closed. It is not appropriate to contact by email or facebook messaging in these cases.

You should accept Option 1 on the menu when prompted and you will be connected to an answer-machine message which will give the contact number for the duty vet.

2. Provision of Cover

Emergency veterinary cover is provided through a cooperative of local practices: Ourselves, South Lakes Veterinary Centre in Ulverston, Church Walk Veterinary Centre and Alexander Veterinary Centre in Barrow.

The responsibilities are shared equally between practices and are further shared between different veterinary surgeons within the participating practice. It will not be possible to see a preferred vet out of hours unless they happen to be on call. It is also not possible for messages to be passed to other practices out of working hours.

3. Attending at the on call vets

For the vast majority of emergency calls you will be expected to attend at the relevant practice. In exceptional circumstances the vet may be able to make a house call but you should be aware that not only is this a more expensive option it greatly limits the service the vet can provide. Even if you have no transport of your own it remains your responsibility to get your pet to the out- of- hours provider either through public transport, taxi or with a friend or family member.

4. Costs of emergency callouts

There is an additional fee for out of hours attendance which varies with the time the callout is requested, being more expensive during the night than the day. All other charges are the same as during the day though if nurse assistance is required this will attract a fee. A significant proportion of out- of- hours calls relate to problems that started during working hours and often some days before so it is always best to call the surgery as soon as a problem arises. It is better for your pet’s well being and for your pocket.