For Veterinary Surgeons
Royal Sun Alliance is restricting your clinical freedom:
Northwest Surgeons can help.
Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) has made changes to the pet health insurance policies it underwrites, attempting to give the insurer the power to influence where an individual client underwritten by them is referred when specialist care of their pet is needed. This change includes policies provided by More Than, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Tesco, Argos and Homebase.
We believe this policy change, which was made without due consultation with the veterinary profession, fundamentally undermines your rightful responsibility as a veterinary surgeon to fully safeguard the welfare of the animals under your care because it restricts your options when it comes to referral.
It seems that the mode of action of RSA in enforcing its position upon the profession is to charge the client a fee of up to 10% of the referral bill (in addition to the normal excess) if the referral is not to a member of the “Preferred Referral Network”. Like many practices offering RCVS Recognised Specialist standards of referral, Northwest Surgeons is not part of the RSA “Preferred Referral Network”.
We can, however, continue to see both elective and emergency cases with no change to the referral process for you or your clients and with no financial penalty for your clients. Please read this document for details.
In the longer term, we also believe it is crucial to bring this issue to the attention of the pet owning public, particularly if they are contemplating the purchase of insurance for their pet and that the profession holds a proper debate about who should make such decisions in the best interests of animal welfare. We urge you to take part.
Since this post we have joined with a group of referral practices to issue the following statement.