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Here's why UK vet nurses are taking calls from Orange pet owners in the middle of the night

January 12, 2022

"If I'm wearing it, you're wearing it." Stock image.

By Peter Holmes

A worldwide shortage of vets, and exhaustion among staff working day shifts and on-call overnight, has led Mulberry Lane Vet Hospital to employ a new system that ensures staff are properly rested.

Mulberry Lane's owner Dr Judith Carney told The Orange News Examiner that highly qualified UK veterinary nurses will be part of a triage system that aims to avoid late-night callouts for issues that may not require urgent treatment.

Known as Medechat VetCheck 24/7, it will "give support to our valued team, as well as provide a good 24-hour service to you and your pets", according to the hospital's blog.

The system began in December. Those clients of the hospital who call the after hours emergency mobile number will be put through to Medechat, a service that has nurses triaging the emergency phone calls.

A nurse will provide options, depending on the emergency. This may mean a Mulberry Lane vet in Orange is called, or a Medechat vet might provide a consultation by phone or video link for a fee.

The company then sends Mulberry Lane details of any after hours calls the following morning, allowing the hospital to follow-up with pet owners.

A cat. Stock image.

Dr Carney said the time difference between the UK and Australia meant it was ideal to have nurses in the UK attending to some of the calls.

She said the service would allow vets and nurses in Orange to have proper rest between shifts.

Another cat. This one is just lazing about. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Commenting about regional vet shortages last May, James Cook University's Academic Head of Veterinary Science, Margaret Riley, told the ABC: "It may be that the small country town doesn't have a vet anymore and there is some sort of fly-in fly-out service, but that is going to have a huge impact on animal welfare."

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