Winning practices collect their prizes in the 2011 awards for the design and appearance of the public areas of their premises - Veterinary Practice
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Winning practices collect their prizes in the 2011 awards for the design and appearance of the public areas of their premises

WILLIAMS Veterinary Surgeons in
Tywyn, Gwynedd, and Cheadle
Hulme Veterinary Hospital in
Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, have
won the two categories in this
year’s Front-of-House Awards, run
Veterinary Practice and sponsored
by Royal Canin.

The purpose of these awards is to
recognise excellence in front-of-house
design, appearance and facilities.

Williams Veterinary Surgeons won
the category for practices with no
more than 10 full-time or FTE staff,
for its recently opened new premises.

Sundean Veterinary Clinic in
Lydney, Glos., was declared the
runner-up with Zasman Veterinary
Clinic in Islington, London, in third

Cheadle Hulme Veterinary Hospital
won the category for practices with
more than 10 full-time or FTE staff
for its recent refurbishment and
addition of on-site parking.

The de Montfort Veterinary
Hospital in Evesham, Worcs., was
named as runner-up with Cherrydown
Vets in Basildon, Essex, third.

A bumper crop of entries came in
from all over the UK, which a
preliminary judging panel assessed
under 10 different headings – from
exterior appearance and signage to
merchandising and noticeboards –
after which a “mystery shopping”
phone call was made to all those
considered likely to make the final.

Not all the calls were answered in a
manner likely to endear the practice to
existing or potential clients and three
entries were eliminated on this alone –
even though the written entry and
photographs looked highly promising.

Unannounced visits were
subsequently made to each of the
finalists for on-the-spot assessments.

Judges commented on the high
standard of the entries overall and the
tremendous improvements in recent
years in the public areas of practices,
though a number of faults were
highlighted. These ranged from poor
placement of signs and notices
(including letters missing in some
signs) to the cluttered and disjointed
layouts in some waiting and
merchandising areas.

What the judges looked for:

  • clear, attractive signage outside (and inside) the practice
  • adequate and well-marked parking bays
  • a smart, well-maintained exterior and gardens (if any) well-tended and tidy
  • a well-defined, easy to reach entrance with disabled access
  • a welcoming reception area for dealing smoothly and efficiently with clients
    and patients arriving and leaving
  • clean, comfortable waiting area(s) with informative noticeboards, etc.
  • well-laid-out merchandising area(s)

Any clinic/surgery/hospital built, renovated, refurbished, extended or
moved since 1st January 2008 was eligible to enter.

The categories were:

  1. practices with no more than 10 full-time or FTE staff
  2. practices with more than 10 full-time of FTE staff

Practices were invited to submit statements of up to 200 words as to why
they deserved to win the award, along with up to 10 photographs, from
which judges selected the finalists.

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