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Dr Abby Pye

Dr Abby Pye

Tonbridge Veterinary Practice Is Expanding After Becoming Employee Owned

4 weeks ago

19th June, 2024 13h18

Pennard Vets

A veterinary practice in Tonbridge, Kent that became employee-owned a year ago this month, is expanding and recruiting ahead of UK Employee Ownership Day (EO Day) on 21st June. 

Priory Lodge Vets was founded over 70 years ago and has a loyal client base of more than 4,500 pets, with a 20-strong team. Last year it chose to become part of Kent based Pennard Vets, which was the largest practice in the world to be transferred into employee ownership in 2021. Priory Lodge Vets has recently appointed a new vet and continues to recruit in client care.

Practice principal at Priory Lodge Vets, Dr Abby Pye said: “Since joining Pennard Vets last year, and with our newfound employee-owned status, there have been numerous benefits for our team. A four-day week for vets and registered nurses, earlier finishes and an extra week holiday have all enhanced our wellbeing and work life balance, without compromising on our service to clients.

“Our industry is suffering with staff shortages across the board, but we can offer lots of tangible and attractive benefits that appeal to new team members and our existing, dedicated team. With a health cash care plan, health insurance and more flexibility in the working week, we genuinely stand out from other veterinary practices that are recruiting.”

Since becoming part of Pennard Vets, it’s not only team members that have benefited. Abby explained: “As Pennard Vets has seven other practices throughout Kent in Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Allington, Borough Green, Langley Park and West Malling, we can tap into the vast skill sets of those teams, as well as the facilities from across the group – we are no longer a stand-alone practice.

“We now use the group’s 24-hour emergency hospital – Sevenoaks Emergency Vets – for all out of hours cases and overnight hospitalisations and, because our computer systems are aligned, these transfers are seamless. We can also refer clients internally for physiotherapy, as well as having access to vets that specialise in certain areas, such as exotics. In return, we now take internal referrals for orthopaedics and there have been fantastic opportunities to collaborate with new colleagues.” 

In addition to being part of a bigger group and becoming employee owned, Priory Lodge Vets benefits from Pennard Vet’s B-Corp status and taps into a host of initiatives including innovative recycling schemes. Abby added: “We have always focused on being socially and environmentally friendly, but to have the B-Corp rubber stamp endorses what we already do and helps us to continually improve.”

Dr Dirk Brink, from Priory Lodge Vets, added: “It’s been a busy 12-months treating a wide range of cases, ranging from dogs and cats who have consumed weird and wonderful foreign objects to dogs presenting with cannabis poisoning, alongside all the routine treatments and services we offer. We are managing a whole host of complicated medical cases every week and continue to offer chemotherapy treatments to our cancer patients. I specialise in orthopaedic surgery and we’ve had numerous orthopaedic cases referred to us from other branches of Pennard Vets - we are now accommodating up to two major orthopaedic procedures a week.

“Despite becoming part of a bigger group, the day-to-day running of our practice is very much the same as it’s always been, which is exactly as it should be. We’re getting fantastic support behind the scenes, while the team continues to focus on providing excellent client care. Our team have so much to offer in terms of skills and experience and there are so many opportunities for us all to share knowledge and help one another. Providing continuity of care, from the same familiar faces, is central to the service we provide to our clients.” 

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