Cost versus value

Posted on March 18, 2014 by Robin Hargreaves

Once again this morning I have done the rounds of local radio stations who have picked up a veterinary story. This time Paul O Grady reports that he has spent £8000 on treatment for his dogs kidney cancer which has been a success but will require on going chemotherapy. Here is the frustration.... This story illustrates the level of sophistication that is now available in specialist veterinary practice. This is the result of years of dedicated training and self sacrifice on the part of the whole veterinary team involved and massive capital investment to develop facilities where this level of expertise can be harnessed. However all the interviews suggest the theme is rip off vets, this despite a delighted client and a magnificent outcome.

Perversely I have really enjoyed defending the profession and the colossal achievement of those colleagues who are in a position to offer these groundbreaking interventions and emphasising if the outcome is a good quality of life and does not involve disproportionate suffering for the patient then what people chose to spend is their business.

There is a growing appetite in some areas of the media to feed  public cynicism with misinformation and unbalanced reporting and I for one enjoy pushing back against it. Happily in most cases after the presenters or journalists try to get a negative message across we usually see very many happy clients praising their own vets to the roof tops. 

I recently took part in the Pet Plan vet of the year judging which is about  far more than just vets but includes nurses, support staff, practice managers and whole teams. This year there were thousands of nominations and I cannot praise Pet Plan highly enough for the resources they put into highlighting the huge number of people who's lives have been touched by the dedication of their veterinary team. So the message is don't despair most people do still value the profession very highly despite what some would like to claim.

I was interested to see this linked to by a tweet from Ben Goldacre regarding a medical parallel to this media driven fear and suspicion.

Soldier on


Robin Hargreaves

Written by Robin Hargreaves

BVA President from September 2013 to September 2014

Robin is a past president of BVA. He is a director and small animal practitioner at Stanley House Veterinary Surgery in Lancashire. He chaired the BVA vet-led team working group and was previously the BVA representative on the Mind Matters Initiative.