Dreaming of a veterinary utopia…the journey so far!

Natterjacks was established in 2012 by lifelong local resident Andy Matthew to meet the need for a better and more personal veterinary service for the area’s pet owners and local animal charities.

Many people working within the veterinary sector have become increasingly disillusioned with the increasingly commercial nature of the profession, with an increasing proportion of the market being dominated by big name brands and chain stores.  Whilst this shouldn’t necessarily be an issue, many worry that sales targets and profits have started to take precedence over the primary care of our pets. Many large chains impose restrictive and unpopular working conditions for their staff resulting in a high staff turnover and difficulties in recruiting and retaining good quality staff.

However many independent practices are not without their faults.  Many are hindered by a chronic lack of investment so that the facilities may not be as modern as they could be.  The level of expertise may also be lacking if there are only a limited number of vets and if there is no desire for progression or advancement.   Though free of corporate interference, some independents struggle with poor management and partnership disputes that can impact on the service provided as well as staff morale.

We realised from the offset that Natterjacks needed to be different.  We wanted to establish a veterinary service that was genuinely acting in the best interests of our patients, our staff and the local community.  Not only this, but one that was modern and progressive with unrivalled facilities and expertise to ensure that we could provide not only the most ethical veterinary service but also the very best from a clinical perspective .  Furthermore, we wanted to provide a service that was accessible to all and prove that veterinary care needn’t cost the earth with a range of treatments to suit all budgets.  Perhaps most importantly, we also wanted to show how much we do genuinely care and look after our patients (and their owners) as if they were very much part of our own family!

Our aim over the next few years is to establish a small and cosy network of practices in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch to provide the sort of the service that we feel the profession and its patients deserves.   We have gathered a group of friends that all have the same feelings about how things should be done and together we will make these dreams a reality.  

You can also have confidence that your money is being used carefully and responsibly to help develop this project – not to line the pockets of shareholders or fund lavish existences.   We all live modest lives and are not motivated by material gain or financial reward.  We have a policy of continual reinvestment and in addition help with numerous conservation and charitable efforts both locally and internationally.

Our first practice in Bournemouth opened in early 2012 following the ambitious redevelopment of an old art deco bank building and it was soon clear that our unique values and service was a winning combination.  We were delighted to welcome patients not only from the local community but also from as far as Southampton, Salisbury and Swanage – all of whom were prepared to travel that extra mile to see us.  We were soon at capacity and in 2015 we were delighted to acquire the landmark Darby’s Corner pub in Poole to convert into our Poole surgery.  Being a much larger site, this offered potential for a host of additional facilities such as a CT scanner and hydrotherapy to help complement our existing practice in Bournemouth – as well as providing residents on the western side of the conurbation their own sparkling new practice.  Our Poole practice opened in July 2016 after a long and complicated refurbishment and we are delighted that such a famous local building is once again being put to good use for the benefit of the local community.  This is just the beginning in so far as Poole is concerned with lots more to come 😉

Attention is also now on the development of our Christchurch/Highcliffe facility to serve the eastern side of the conurbation.  Also included in our future plans is the provision of a dedicated out-of-hours and emergency/critical care facility to enable us to see patients during the wee small hours – whether an existing patient of the surgery or not.  Although we already keep our patients hospitalised overnight and during the weekend, and offer a unique out-of-hours email advice service, our excellent vets work long days and many have busy family lives so are just not in a position to work overnight as well.   To do this, we will therefore need a new team of dedicated night staff with extra facilities and accommodation – all of which will come at a cost and we are anxious to avoid anything that might compromise our ability to assist charities, help with community projects or risk inflating our ground-breakingly low prices.  In the meantime there are several local out of hours facilities who will willingly see our patients overnight in the event of a dire emergency before transferring them back to us for continuing care.

Of course none of what we have achieved would have been possible without your incredible support.  We feel privileged to be entrusted with the care of your much loved family companions and will continue to seek your assistance to help us in our mission to get better and better.  Our philosophy is rooted firmly in the belief that we have been made by you, for you and all feedback – good and bad – is extremely important and always welcomed.  

Thanks to you we are now firmly established as the area’s favourite vet practice and we are greatly looking forward to continuing our journey together in search of a better future for all animals, wherever they may be.  

See you all soon and thanks again for being so great 🙂

Team Natterjacks X



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