Sandstone Vet Group, a new independent farm practice based in Tarporley, Cheshire, has joined the growing XLVets community. The practice was set up in May 2020 by Owen Tunney and Emyr Rowlands, two vets with a shared vision of providing a high-quality veterinary service founded on long-term relationships with farmers. They have got off to a successful start despite the challenges of the last year and have received valuable support from the XLVets community.
Sandstone Vet Group prides itself on providing a dedicated local service and helping each farm make the best business decisions. Owen Tunney explains the ethos of the practice: “We take a proactive approach with our clients, supporting them to achieve their targets,” he says. “To do this, we make an effort to really understand each farmer’s business, so we can provide the best advice. There are lots of external factors impacting farmers at the moment with Brexit and changes in subsidies, and our goal is to understand these challenges and make appropriate recommendations for each situation.”
Owen explains that this commitment to understanding each farm depends on strong, lasting working relationships between vets and farmers. This in turn requires a stable veterinary team, and Sandstone Vet Group is committed to providing a positive working environment that will allow experienced vets to thrive on a long-term basis. “We really value having a great team, and we’ve designed our business model to support everyone at Sandstone in developing their careers,” says Owen.
The team currently consists of seven full-time clinical vets alongside four TB testers and five experienced support staff. The practice is well-equipped and provides a wide range of services including embryo transfer and dynamic parlour testing.
Describing the process of setting up the practice, Owen explains that XLVets was their first port of call. “We joined the XLVets community because we felt this was the best way to collaborate with like-minded practices, to benefit from the hive-mind, while still retaining our independence and steering our own ship,” he says.
The XLVets community has supported the new practice in a number of ways, providing help with HR and marketing and also enabling them to buy medicines at competitive prices so they can provide excellent value to farmers. As well as this, Owen explains, the advice from other vets has been very valuable. “Vets across the community have been very willing to share their expertise,” he says. “And fundamentally it’s been great to have the support of a network rather than going it alone, especially with the challenges of the last year.”
Susan Goodfellow, Marketing Manager at XLVets, explains the support the community gives to new practices. “We find that newly established independent practices value help with HR, marketing and health and safety – things that they often don’t have in-house expertise in,” she says. “And of course the whole community can give advice on a huge range of topics such as which equipment to invest in. We’re delighted to be joined by practices like Sandstone who share our commitment to high-quality veterinary care and collaboration. We have been very fortunate to welcome a number of newly established practices such as Sandstone during the last 12 months – the new practices benefit from the expertise of our existing established members and our current members enjoy working with new people and the ideas they bring. Also, with the number of new practices we are welcoming there is ready access to other people at exactly the same stage they are: setting up, growing and taking on new challenges with enthusiasm every day.”
The XLVets community supports both established and start-up veterinary practices. Members collaborate on current challenges, share best practice and buy together. To find out more about XLVets, visit https://www.xlvets.co.uk/the-boss/.
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