UK: Free Telemedicine answers call to help GP vets

VetCT offers “no fee, no tie-in” support for frontline GP vets throughout April, with specialists worldwide lined up to provide round-the-clock service.

Every GP in the UK is being offered free, 24-hour referral advice from some of the world’s top veterinary specialists in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The guaranteed “no fee, no tie-in” specialist support network for GPs has been created by global veterinary telemedicine specialists VetCT and will run throughout April.

The company said it may extend the campaign – running on social media under #vetsforvets – depending on Government announcements regarding lockdown.

Under the initiative, the Cambridge-based company has organised an extensive network of European or US diploma-holding specialists from around the world to provide a round‑the‑clock rota of experts from a “virtual hospital” to give advice to frontline GPs.

Areas of specialisation include internal medicine, critical care, neurology, soft tissue surgery, orthopaedics and ophthalmology. Diploma holders are based in the UK, mainland Europe, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Victoria Johnson, a European veterinary specialist in diagnostic imaging and director at VetCT, said: ”We have been running a telemedicine hospital for the past couple of years and in recent weeks have seen the calls changing – vets are worried, isolated and need support, particularly with emergency cases.

“We wanted to play our small part in trying to help with this situation, so we came up with the idea of instant specialist support for vets 24 hours a day. This was the basis of the campaign.”

She added: “Then, out of the blue, some of the specialists got in touch to offer to give their time for free to help with this campaign. This was totally unexpected and completely bowled us over.

“Overall, it has been amazing and moving to see how much vets care about our profession, and how much they want to support their colleagues.

“Many have told us that they have been watching the human medical profession come together in a quite extraordinary way during this crisis – vets want to do the same.”

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