Old Stone Vets have been providing veterinary care for all species of animals 24 hours a day since 2005. They have three practices across the North East and Cumbria including their branch in the heart of Weardale at the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope where they have been tenants since 2015.
When COVID-19 lockdown restrictions came into place in March 2020, Old Stone Vets set out to provide as many remote consultations as possible to adhere to the necessary social distancing measures. This meant that pressure on their IT infrastructure due to remote consultations rocketed.
The technology used by Old Stone Vets was out of date and while sufficient for previous use, it was clear they needed to upgrade their systems to ensure veterinary practitioners could communicate properly with clients, clients could communicate clearly with the reception staff, and medicines could be dispensed following correct protocols.
As a Business Durham tenant, Old Stone Vets have regular contact Durham Dales Centre supervisor Gillian Welsh whose remit includes ongoing operational support as well as signposting to relevant support programmes quickly to assist businesses. This has never been more evidently needed than during the difficult times of COVID-19.
Gillian said: “Part of my role at Business Durham includes working with tenants to signpost them to initiatives that can help their business develop. It was clear that due to the restrictions of COVID-19 Old Stone Vets needed to improve their IT infrastructure. I immediately knew that Business Durham’s Digital Drive programme might be able to help and pointed them in the right direction.”
Gillian signposted the company to Business Durham’s Digital Drive County Durham programme. Digital Drive offer grants of up to 40% for businesses to upgrade their IT systems with a fast track system in place to ensure businesses can access the grants as quickly as possible during these difficult times.
Karl Collins MVB MRCVS, Director at Old Stone Vets commented: “Acting upon advice from the Durham Dales Centre’s Gillian Welsh we contacted Business Durham’s Digital Drive County Durham Programme and without too much hassle, we were able to get financial assistance to upgrade remote computer systems and phone systems.
This allowed us to communicate more effectively with our surgeries and clients and to ensure we maintain social distancing where possible. We are still be able to discuss cases and provide animal welfare advice such as suitable treatments, view video evidence easily, prescribe medicines safely and remotely where possible, and basically ensure that we keep our business going during these difficult times.
As a rural community business, we are sometimes considered as the 4th emergency service, it is vital that we remain open 24hrs to our customers in order to provide the best care possible. This has been greatly facilitated by the financial input by Business Durham’s Digital Drive County Durham programme.”
Helen Helen Watson, Digital Adviser, Digital Drive County Durham added: “It was clear from our first call that Old Stones Vets needed rapid funding support. With increasing pressures of COVID-19 and social distancing the team needed to act quickly to ensure all staff had access to remote equipment. This was essential to manage and maintain both emergency and non-emergency cases. It’s fantastic to know we’ve played a part in supporting their remote needs but more rewarding that they can continue to deliver such a hugely important service in the future with the support of the Digital Drive funding.”
For more information about the Durham Dales Centre visit https://www.durhamdalescentre.co.uk/
For more information about the Digital Drive County Durham Programme visit https://www.digitaldrivedurham.co.uk/