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24 hour care Tel: 01908 611637
Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9BA

Charter of service

The ‘Astonlee Charter’ sets out our promise to you. It is constantly updated as we listen to your views on what you are seeking from us for your pets.

Established in 1986 we have always been at the vanguard of clinical excellence, and we promise to maintain this excellence for you.

We care, and we know that you do too. The many services which we provide are founded upon that mutual care; and we continually extend and improve upon them as a result of the valuable opinions of the countless clients who have trusted us with their pets.

We pride ourselves on three main values:  excellence in care for our staff, clients and patients.  We hope that you can see all 3 of these values whenever you visit Astonlee.  We hope that our aim of caring shines through in a transparent way.

Here is a MENU OF QUALITY ASSURED SERVICE AT ASTONLEE. You should find the answers to most of your concerns:

CONTENTS LIST:

  1. Friendly, well trained staff/healthcare support team.
  2. Annual Health assessment and vaccinations.
  3. Puppy parties FREE.  From May 2015 we offer the first of a series of 4 puppy parties free of charge to our clients who have their puppies vaccinated with us, then £5 each for the next 3 parties.  Non clients who have their puppies vaccinated elsewhere are welcome but they need to pay a fee of £40 for the 4 sessions.  The puppy parties take place between the ages of 9 and 13 weeks.
  4. MICROCHIPPING @ £9.69inc vat.
  5. Dental health checks FREE with our professional nursing team.
  6. Weight checks FREE with our professional nursing team.
  7. CLINICAL AUDIT.
  8. Dietary advice.
  9. Well Pet Clinics for pets over 8 years old: Celebrating the love and care that your pet has given YOU by giving THEM an MOT.
  10. Out of hours emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  11. Bereavement advice.
  12. SUPERB NEW PREMISES.
  13. Health and Safety.
  14. Employment Law.
  15. PRICING is as good, fair, honest and transparent as we can make it.
  16. Information is made available to clients via newsletters, notices, practice brochure, leaflets and our website.
  1. Friendly, well trained staff/healthcare support team. We have a strong mission statement and practice brochures illustrating our commitment to providing a friendly service, which includes involving clients in the decisions about their pets’ treatments and discussing progress and concerns both in the consulting rooms, hospital visiting and by telephone. Training is kept up to standard through the Veterinary Nurse Training Scheme (we are a training practice approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons), and the Investors in People Standard (IIP). Training a Veterinary Nurse is estimated to cost £15,000, and that is a very considerable investment by the practice. We employ 9 veterinary nurses,  and 3 animal care assistants (ACA's), encompassing every stage of training and qualification. The nurses between them have many years of experience in caring for a wide variety of animals with different illnesses and clinical needs. Paul Manning (Principal and founder) has also been involved in a research programme working towards producing a post graduate qualification for vets in general practice together with a group of 8 experienced GP Vets from around the country. This project is was completed after a lot of hard work in the Autumn 2003. Following the proposals put to the RCVS a new post graduate modular certificate in Advanced Veterinary General Practice has been launched by the RCVS in 2006. This includes consultations skills (Paul's key research interest) in a compulsory part of the qualification. Paul has continued his research into his doctorate which he has been awarded by Middlesex University in 2007.  We have regular meetings for all our team members, a well developed appraisal system, and the staff notice board is always making our team aware of the latest training and development opportunities. Qualifications gained by our team demonstrate that the whole practice (vets, nurses, receptionists and admin staff) have gained more skills which enhance our service. one member of our admin team has achieved the VPAC (Veterinary Practice Administration Certificate) and the CVPM (Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management). Most of our nurses have qualified as Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN’s), many staff have qualified as Hills Nutritional Advisers, we have a PIA (Pet Insurance Adviser), First Aiders, and NVQ’s in Customer Care. See the Vet of your choice each time during a continuous treatment wherever possible.
  2. Annual vaccinations and Health Assessments to ensure that as many of our patients are kept as healthy as can be. The important reason why we STRONGLY recommend vaccination is to prevent some very serious and often fatal diseases. PARVOVIRUS killed several dogs in the first 3 months of 2003 for example, needlessly and painfully, and these patients are such hard work for our vet and nursing teams; most especially our nursing teams who are closely involved with tending to these dogs’ needs and clearing up the awful mess. LEPTOSPIROSIS has been on the increase, carried by rats, causing death in dogs through kidney failure and/or liver disease, and this can also cause Weil's disease in humans which is very serious.  A recent survey (2007) found that 40% of practices in the UK  had seen Leptospirosis within the past 12 months, and 60% had seen parvovirus.  FELINE LEUKAEMIA VIRUS killed 365 cats in this practice in a single year about 15 years ago (1992), (our worst day was to have to put down 10 cats in a single day), shortly before the vaccine became available after huge and lengthy research programmes. Massive efforts by Astonlee to get the vaccine and this message across to our clients reduced the incidence of this fatal disease to about 1 a fortnight. That is a fantastic and real example of what we have achieved through vaccination in this YOUR local area.

    We have tried various forms of vaccination certificate to make sure the health assessment is done and recorded for you (the client). Our new certificates should be the best yet (let us know what you think). Our prices for vaccinations have risen on average about 3% per annum for the last 5 years (as at May 2003).
  3. Puppy Parties FREE. These have been really great, with many new puppies and their owners attending this event on Wednesday/Thursday evenings each week run by our nursing team. The standard of this service has involved training of the nurses and proactive monitoring of the standards. This helps to get young puppies socialised from an early age, and the ‘parents’ have great fun meeting others experiencing the joys of having ‘new children’. It also gives an opportunity for owners to learn and pick up tips about caring for their puppies that they may have missed elsewhere in the consultations with the vet for example; and it also leads on to thinking and doing something about further training of the puppies as they grow up. There are some real enthusiasts in our area. (Ask reception for details).
  4. MICROCHIPPING AVAILABLE @ £9.69inc vat, to ensure that you have the maximum chance of finding your pet if he/she goes missing for any reason. This standard is simply FANTASTIC. We see the heartache of clients not being able to find their lost pet after they have run off somewhere, and we know the grief goes on for months, so we STRONGLY believe in helping you to help keep track of your pets.
  5. DENTAL HEALTH CHECKS FREE by our nursing team. A great way to encourage you to care for your pet’s teeth and preserve them for as long as possible. This standard is maintained by training of our nurses, vets and receptionists, and the uptake is monitored by our admin team to keep track of our effectiveness. Training includes attending conferences, and we have CD Roms and seminars in our conference room in the practice. We have also introduced the ‘ABC of dentistry’ which is a very simple and easy guide to dental care. A means teeth in good condition. B means teeth need scaling and polishing. C means there are some teeth in need of extraction. We also have a D category which means unfortunately the dental disease has progressed to Disaster and lots of teeth need extracting. We have a much more detailed dental scoring system for when clients have understood the basics.
  6. WEIGHT CLINICS FREE by our nursing team. This is a great way to help keep your pets free of obesity problems, which include unhealthy lethargy, lack of exercise, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. The benefits are amazing for committed owners and their pets. Our weighing scales are located adjacent to the consulting rooms and are also easily accessible from the waiting area to facilitate ease of use by clients and staff.
  7. CLINICAL AUDIT. This is a continuous process whereby we constantly review and work at improving our service of clinical excellence. This is a thorough job and involves constant review of new products, introducing new or amending old protocols in management and clinical procedures, and special audits of specific items in more depth such as Paul’s surgical repair of ruptured cruciate ligaments in dogs where he now achieves a 98% success rate, details of which he presented at the annual conference of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association in April 2003. CLINICAL AUDIT is probably the most important reason why a client should choose Astonlee for the care of their pets. This assures owners that the highest possible standards are being delivered.
  8. HOW TO FEED YOUR PET : dietary advice. Our nurses, vets and receptionists have all been involved in some training on how to give the best advice. To encourage clients to feed the best foods we offer all Hills diets at very special prices  (check them out for yourself and see what savings you can make by buying Hills including prescription diets from Astonlee). The success of providing pets with the best nutrition is translated into living longer and healthier lives (Paul had an old cat aged 25 years fed on Hills diets). The profits from our sales of food are ploughed back into the practice to help pay for the clinical services we provide.
  9. WELL PET CLINICS FOR THE OVER 8 YEAR OLDS. We get excited about our service for these pets who were so lovely and cuddly when they were puppies or kittens and have given so much love and companionship to their owners all of their lives. We think they deserve an MOT to help keep them healthy for longer. We aim to provide health assessments for seemingly well pets over 8 years old who can benefit from early detection of medical problems. This ranges from a simple urine test which can detect diabetes, through a thorough clinical examination and various blood tests, and can include an ECG as well. Prevention is better than cure, and early detection often makes the treatment a lot easier and more successful.
  10. OUT OF HOURS SERVICE. OUR EMERGENCY SERVICE PROVIDES A 24 HOUR SERVICE FOR EMERGENCIES, AND THE COST OF THIS IS REFLECTED IN THE COSTS PASSED ON TO CLIENTS IN THE FORM OF CALL OUT FEES FOR THE OUT OF HOURS SERVICE BY THE VETS, AND ALSO SOME ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR EMPLOYING THE NURSING TEAM FOR THE OUT OF HOURS WORK. There are a huge possible number of ways of charging for this out of hours service in order to cover the costs involved, but our chosen fee structure appears to be as good as any. The difference in concept for clients to understand the charges for out of hours work revolve around the fact that very many fewer cases are seen than during a normal working day, and yet the availability of staff has to be there whether or not they are usefully employed working on clinical cases. The OOHR’s service therefore carries higher fees than daytime service. This is particularly important for paying for professional time of the vets and nurses. The quality control is in the training of vets and nurses, numbers and quality of responses to emergency calls out of hours, lack of complaints about the availability of this service, and the financial parameters monitoring the viability of providing the service.
    The practice has always had a committment to 24/7 365 days a year for emergency service. Paul started this single handed for some years. Then this was shared with other vets who joined the practice. Then nurses also became available on duty 24/7 too.  Now we are moving to have 24-hour care on the premises from April 2007. It is important to note that this does not mean we are actually open for clients to visit 24/7  except in an emergency by appointment. However the practice prides itself on having very high levels of availability for clients with long opening hours Monday to Saturday and on Sundays and bank holidays 11 - 12 noon. Many clients appreciate this.   There is a small surcharge fior the consultation fees on the Sunday morning and Bank Holiday open surgeries, but this helps to avoid a call out fee when the proble is not an emergency but the pet would benefit from being seen by the vet before the practice opens 'normally' again.  The availability of a nurse or care assistant on the premises 24/7 also means that the vet can decide the frequency of checks the nurse/care assistant needs to make on the pet whilst in the hospital, and this will be done. 
  11. BEREAVEMENT ADVICE. The whole practice recognises the difficult process that people go through as they try to come to terms with the loss of a pet, and so we are well trained in helping clients through this. We also have some staff who have a special interest in helping clients, and who have done training in how to help.  If clients wish to have some friendly help in understanding what can be quite overwhelming feelings at the time or even some weeks later, encouragement is given to ask reception for details of this free service.
  12. OUR SUPERB NEW PREMISES represent £1Million new investment in the practice, and our Open Days enable hundreds of clients to see around on guided tours. We also show clients round at other times, when they are visiting an event or visiting their pet whilst a patient in the Hospital. Photo’s are also available on our website www.astonlee.co.uk There is a huge list of benefits for clients, patients and staff. The very high standard and specifications of the building make it an outstanding facility for veterinary medicine and surgery, with some standards higher than in facilities for humans. There is a HUGE amount of detail in the ARCHITECT’S design, specification, and quality control of the building, as well as extensive Health and Safety documentation – It’s easy to take for granted what we now have, but the strenuous efforts and attention to detail during the planning and design stages have produced a facility that helps our team to deliver the BEST CARING SERVICE that you rightly want and we want to give. Many of the key benefits are listed here:
    1. Much more product display space in the waiting room, which enables clients to see more of the excellent range of healthcare products we offer. We also have the weighing scales made accessible in the waiting area for client use.
    2. CAR PARK is HUGE and a GREAT improvement on our previous one at the old surgery.
    3. EXCELLENT SURGICAL FACILITIES. The high standards include the excellent purpose designed preparation room and two theatres, and a separate room for autoclaving/sterilising the instruments. WE AIM TO TELEPHONE THE OWNERS DURING OR AFTER THE OPERATION TO KEEP WORRIED CLIENTS INFORMED.
    4. X RAY FACILITIES are now DIGITAL since new equipment was purchsed in 2011.
    5. ANAESTHESIA includes the use of specially installed piped oxygen to all the workstations and also to the ICU. We also have an AGSS (active gas scavenging system) that is in use during our theatre times so that waste anaesthetic gases are ducted away safely out of reach of animals or humans. We use what are widely recognised as GOLD STANDARD ANAESTHETIC AGENTS, and the safety for patients and surgical staff is of a very high standard.
    6. DENTAL OPERATING ROOM separate from the other operating facilities. This is very useful, and has positive pressure filtered ventilation to keep the germs away from other areas of the practice.
    7. Ophthalmology, Darkened rooms for ophthalmology.
    8. More space for expansion of the same general practice services, eg: 6 dedicated consulting rooms. 2 operating theatres, 18 feet long preparation room with 3 workstations including tub table for bathing animals, etc. Hospital wards to accommodate over 50 patients, including many more large dogs
    9. EXOTIC work. We have added hospitalisation facilities with glass doors on cages to accommodate birds, hamsters, gerbils(and other small furries), and some reptiles..
    10. DERMATOLOGY, U/SOUND, CARDIOLOGY, RADIOGRAPHY.
    11. COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE : ACUPUNCTURE, over the counter sales of Homoeopathic remedies with better display.   Dr Paul uses acupuncture to treat lick granulomas in dogs with a high success rate, and also arthritis in dogs and cats, and some otherr conditions.  This treatment is Paul's preferred method for treating lick granulomas as a first line treatment.
    12. Telephone system improvements to direct calls to the right department/person at designated times, eg: Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, Nurse Station/ICU, Vet Station/vets, Pet Travel Scheme, Advice Line, Pet Accessories, Appointments, Visits(including Horses where necessary for Paul's Riding Establishment Inspections).
    13. Reception Desk is designed and built with ease of use for receptionists and clients in mind.
    14. INTENSIVE CARE UNIT for critically ill patients.
    15. ISOLATION WARD.   The facility to effectively isolate patients with infectious diseases (including cat 'flu, parvovirus, Leptospirosis and others) is really important for patients and staff who are caringf for them.  It is also important for keeping these diseases under control and out of harm's way for other patients in the hospital.   Leptospirosis is an example of a zoonosis, which means a disease of animals that can also infect people, and these diseases are obviously especially important to be in isolation with 'barrier nursing'.
    16. DOG RUN.
    17. SPECIAL BOARDING SERVICE FOR OUR PATIENTS WHO NEED TREATMENT WHILE THEIR OWNERS ARE AWAY ON HOLIDAY. This is a service that helps to remove the worries from anxious clients who can then go away and enjoy their holidays.
    18. CONFERENCE ROOM substantially improves our capacity and facilities for training of our staff and is used for holding meetings with clients such as the puppy parties.
    19. Monthly payment scheme for preventive care and/or for pet illness/accident cover 'in house'. This has been growing in popularity and now has over 110 animals registered and benefiting from this extraordinarily good way of paying for veterinary care at Astonlee.
    20. Accommodation on the first floor for overnight duties and availability of staff on site for emergencies and in patient care. We also use this for providing vet students with accommodation free of charge whilst they are ‘seeing practice’ with us.
    21. New 'Rxworks'computer system from 2007 with facilities to get access to reports much more easily saving administration time, facilities to store photographs, X rays and ECG’s on the computer records in the clinical notes.  
    22. SUPERB RECEPTION AND WAITING AREA and desk, and a facility to enable a telephonist to be employed at a switchboard in the office away from the reception area when the phones are busy. We now have 8 lines coming in.
    23. Library.
    24. PRACTICE LABORATORY. We have a good microscope and blood testing facilities, giving us fast results on a whole range of commonly needed diagnostic tests including biochemistry, haematology, thyroid levels and basic allergies. We use outside laboratories for some tests that either require more sophistication and technology or are too rarely needed for the practice to be able to justify the expenditure on equipment and reagents. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR CLIENTS TO UNDERSTAND JUST A LITTLE OF THE COMPLEXITY AND VALUE OF THIS SERVICE, which at its simplest level means that no 0ne test can diagnose every illness, and each test has a price tag. There are considerable advantages to our patients and clients in being able to do a lot of laboratory diagnosis on the premises because some of these results can be critical to the patient and the clinical decisions being made where minutes or hours can make a difference to the outcome. It is the job of the highly trained professional General Practising Vet to make the important decisions about which selection of tests to do in the best interests of the pet. Clients who have visited our practice laboratory have seen something of what is involved.
    25. Laundry room is so useful for all the blankets and drapes used in the hospital.
    26. TOWER OFFICE. This is a unique feature that everyone new asks about because it is a very useful landmark to enable clients to find the practice very easily, a point that is really important in an emergency late at night in the dark when animals’ lives are at stake. The office also serves an important purpose as the Principal’s Office for administration and directing the practice, which employs almost 30 staff now. The office is also extremely useful for private meetings, interviews and appraisals. The view is great as well.
    27. PHARMACY is a separate and secure room, conveniently located for the vets in consultations or for reception to collect prescriptions, or for theatre and ward use in house. Dispensing is to a high standard, and we have introduced more checks in our system to avoid any errors. We now print 2 labels for every prescription and one of these is put on the bottle/packet, and one in a book which is initialled by the person dispensing the tablets so that we have a quality control system that rarely fails. We would all like this to be ‘NEVER FAILS’ but we are all human.
      • REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS We require up to  48 hours notice to prepare your prescription.  The animal must have been examined by your vet within the past 6 months.  There is a fee for a re-examination and often further tests are required in addition to the physical examination; eg. blood tests, ECG, xray, echocardiogram; to monitor the condition and medication. Call our direct line 01908 589211.
  13. HEALTH AND SAFETY is a top priority, and we have employed Citation PLC as our chosen firm of external experts in this field to keep us up to date and this includes 24 hour help and advice for very quick professional advice whenever needed The quality control is in the constant updates and in the ability to deal with any incident without worrying about all the legal implications. The standards are first class. Providing a safe environment for patients, clients and staff is very important, and we do not underestimate this.
  14. EMPLOYMENT LAW is also a top priority. We have employed Citation PLC as our external expert advisers in this very complex field, and this helps to keep us right up to date with every aspect. The quality control is in the recruitment, training and development and retention of good staff who are happy to work here. Being proactive helps us to care for our team who are caring for clients and patients.
  15. PRICES REFLECT THE COSTS OF EXPERTISE, TIME, DRUGS, EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLES INVOLVED, PLUS OTHER OVERHEADS BUILT IN TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE CONSISTENTLY HIGH SERVICE STANDARDS. Ready Reckoner leaflets an other information is available in the surgery to assist clients with calculation of their bills. We also now encourage clients to pay a deposit BEFORE their pet is admitted to hospital so that they are actually thinking a little about the possible costs at what can be a stressful time for pet owners. We strongly believe in building and maintaining TRUST between ourselves and our clients, and this is so clearly illustrated when clients are leaving their pet with us for an operation or other type of hospital treatment. The anxiety for clients is something we cannot eliminate altogether as that is part of the loving relationship YOU have with your pet; but we can try do to everything we possibly can to minimise YOUR worries. An example of how to do a rough calculation of the possible costs for procedures is illustrated here in an extract from our ‘Ready Reckoner for clients’:

    This rough calculation is given on the strict understanding that it is only a rough calculation, and that any unforeseen complications which might occur would be charged for as an additional cost.

    Consultation fee - £20 to £45Hospital stay per day - £15 to £85 per day; eg: £18 to £255 for 3 days depending on level of care and size of pet.

    Cost of operation - £50 to £900 approx.

    Anaesthetic costs - £20 to £100 approx.

    X rays - 1st, 2nd , 3rd… £50 to £300 approx.

    Drips - £50 approx each.

    Injections - £7 to £50 approx.

    Tablets - £6 to £50 approx.

    Buster collar - £3 to £15 approx.

    Blood tests - £20 to £150 approx.

    TOTAL………………………….£224 to £1890 approx.

    Some real examples of actual diagnostic procedures and treatments are as follows:

    ‘Eva’ a Bull Mastiff with a pyometra (womb infection) with complications £1016.50.

    ‘Sally’ a Westie with a lameness diagnosed as Perthes disease £341.60.

    ‘Bodger’ a Bull Terrier suffered a shark bite in Milton Keynes when he put his foot into the jaw of a souvenir shark’s skull brought back by the owner from holiday, severing the Achilles tendon £1600.00

    ‘Ralph’ a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a skin problem £618.60.
  16. INFORMATION IS SUPPLIED TO CLIENTS VIA NEWSLETTERS AND OTHER LEAFLETS, AND ALSO VIA OUR WEBSITE

FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR YOUR PET is the owner's responsibility. We recommend pet insurance and also provide our own 'Astonlee Plan' which is a low cost easily affordable prepayment scheme. For those clients who have fallen on very hard times and on council tax or housing benefit we also are very pleased to have had the PDSA Petaid scheme since September 2006.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8xHbjwcrwk New clients only - Free First Visit Consultation for your Pet.  We will be delighted to welcome you to Astonlee. This offer gives you the chance to sample our expert...

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Charter of service

The ‘Astonlee Charter’ sets out our promise to you. It is constantly updated as we listen to your views on what you are seeking from us for your pets. Established in 1986 we have always been at the va...

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