Yesterday, May 8, 2012, I had a long meeting with two
associate vets and my assistant as I shared for the first time with
them, my vision to make Toa Payoh Vets a top 3 veterinary surgery in
Singapore, especially in veterinary surgery.
Three of them sat solemnly across the consultation
table in the consultation room with from the left, two associate vets
and my assistant.
A vision from the founder is empty talk if it cannot be properly
executed and so I have regular "trust and audit" checks on the
veterinary performances and frank talk with them. No
beating around the bush. No cakes and tea all around as we would be
interrupted by in-coming clients and mobile phone ringing.
vet cannot make Toa Payoh Vets a top 3 veterinary, no matter how
clever he or she is," I said. "It is the work of the team to produce
the good results in treatment and surgery well done.
"As for you," I said to a lady vet. "When you set up
your own practice later, it will be to your benefit if you have had
worked in a top 3 veterinary surgery, rather than from the bottom 5,"
I would zero on her as she does most of the cases in 2012.
I had done a "trust and audit" of one of two cases
and discussed the results with everyone present. I have practised
since I graduated in 1974 and know the work performance of younger
vets in the trade, unlike a non-vet founder who may be fooled with
lame excuses when performances are not up to expectations.
For example, if a vet tells me he or she can do a
cystotomy to remove bladder stones and a neuter in a Miniature
Schnauzer in less than 30
minutes and needs to use 3 packets of sutures, I will have serious
doubts. Even if it is a cystotomy in a Chihuahua whose bladder is
smaller in size than a Miniature Schnauzer. I will use 2 packets at
As for my assistant, I advised further on the
recording of the hospitalisation record and he would talk about any
problems encountered. As regards the amount of food and water
consumed, I gave instructions on how they should be monitored
consistently. Dr Daniel proposed water to be "ad lib" in the
hospitalisation recording as some dogs upturn the water bowls and so
no accurate measurement could be done. As for urine output, it would
not be possible to measure the exact volume of pee passed out. As for
stools, I told my assistant to record the consistency of whether they are solid
"Do you know what is HR and RR?" I asked my assistant as he ticked the columns
with the HR and RR heading. He is a veterinarian technician. As his
English expression is not so good, I asked him again and he mumbled:
"The dog is breathing or not."
For some reasons, the older vet burst out laughing.
The younger vet
was serious and that should be the way. It was a contagious laugh and
I got infected.
"HR and RR" are beats/minute for the heart and the
lungs," I said to my assistant. As the clinic manager, I have to persevere
to set the high standards of veterinary care at Toa Payoh Vets. There
will be processes, procedures and protocols set up by me to be adhered
to and "audit and trust" checks will be done. There is no other way to
be top 3 without any effort and many meetings as each staff has his or
her mindset in working.
During this meeting, I instructed that the "inpatient records" with
serial numbers be used immediately. Later, I would introduce the
"hospitalisation records" with serial numbers. "If cases of negligence
litigation," I said. "These records are our defences of the duty and
standard of care and each vet will be responsible for his or her
records. I will get them scanned and retained for the number of years
Presently there are around 50 veterinary practices in Singapore and
competition is expected to be intense. It
takes a lot of my time to train staff and to supervise their work performance but this
is needed if I want to build a high quality of care and thus to become
a top 3 veterinary practice in the next 2