Walkerville’s Missed Appointment Policy

Updated July 18, 2023

Walkerville Vet’s policy for dealing with multiple missed and late appointments is essentially a three strikes approach. If you are reading this after already having missed two, then please know that we dearly hope to see you again. There’s no blame. We understand that many people have not imagined the situation from a vet’s point of view before.

Why Are Missed Appointments A Problem?

Like at many vets, appointments at Walkerville are generally fully booked. We try to keep a few aside for emergencies, but most people who try to book on the day will find that there are no free times available. Appointments are never double booked so that each animal gets our full attention.

The situation for surgical and dental appointments is even clearer. Here, there is a waiting list and bookings are generally made at least 2 weeks ahead.

You can probably see the problem. In busy clinics like these, whenever a client does not attend a scheduled appointment, this means another pet owner has missed out. Since animals do not complain, these can be more unwell than their owners realise. Every day we see dogs and cats with serious problems whose owners thought they were just a bit off.

If we are genuinely unable to see these animals, then we have done our best. But if the clients who do not attend appointments also don’t give us enough warning, these opportunities to help are lost.

What We Ask

All we require is a minimum of two hours warning if you cannot make an appointment on time, or 24 hours for surgery. Even these short notices will allow us to shuffle needy animals into the free slots. Obviously, the more warning we have the better.

If it’s a case of forgetting that you have made an appointment, here are some suggestions:

  • Set a reminder in your phone’s calendar
  • Ask a second person to remind you
  • Make appointments closer to the date you will attend
  • Use our online booking system; it sends email reminders and allows you to cancel appointments even when we are not open

Our Policy

We understand that mistakes will happen to everyone, and so we generally ignore a single missed appointment. An exception to this will be when it has been made earlier the same day.

For most situations, we will notify you after you have missed two appointments. We are still happy to see you, but ask that you see it from our point of view. This is to give you an opportunity to avoid a third missed appointment, at which time we will no longer be able to see you.

Believe us, this is something we wish to avoid at all costs. We like seeing you and your pets and do not want this to change.

What About Late Arrivals?

Clients who arrive after the time of their scheduled appointment create disruption in another way. As there is almost always another client booked next, this pushes the whole appointment schedule back by 15 minutes. The only other alternative would be to not give each animal sufficient time, which is unacceptable to us.

Therefore, latecomers earlier in the day are the main reason why you will sometimes see the vet appointments running late. This means we need to treat latecomers in the same way we treat those who miss appointments completely.

What To Do If You Disagree

There is some flexibility in these rules. If you have attended our clinic hundreds of times, and over the course of years have missed a few appointments, then this is just the law of averages. If this is your situation, please reach out to us and we will almost certainly adjust your file.

If on the other hand you have missed two out of the last ten, then this is more of a problem. Even then, if there are important extenuating circumstances, feel free to reach out via email.

In the end, it is only about trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number of animals.