One of the UK’s leading referral vet centres has revealed its new £16 million state-of-the-art site has been designed with patient wellbeing and welfare firmly at the forefront following consultation with animal behaviourists. 

From consult rooms to car park, Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex, has based the design of its new referral centre, which will open its doors this summer, upon a detailed report from top pet behaviour experts. 

The design means the new 40,000 sq ft site will ensure both the facilities and building are as comfortable and accessible as possible for patients, as well as clients and team members. 

Daniel Hogan, hospital director at Linnaeus-owned Southfields, said that by commissioning animal behaviourist reports and, crucially, basing the design of the new site around recommendations, the cutting-edge centre will be setting a new standard within the veterinary industry. 

He said: “By consulting animal behaviourists from day one, it has meant we can deliver a centre that meets and exceeds the needs of our patients and clients like no other in the UK. 

“Our patient journey has been carefully planned to minimise stress and reduce anxiety. We know how challenging it can often be for pets to come into a practice and, for that reason, we have devoted a huge amount of time and effort into making sure our new site will be as welcoming and accessible as possible. 

“This starts from before patients even enter the building. So, from the car park design and separate entrances and waiting areas, through to consult rooms and the pick-up process, it has all been carefully designed with our patients at the forefront. 

“The benefits of considering emotional health factors in the building design are incredibly important to us. These include, of course, improving patient welfare during their visit; reducing the potential for sensitisation to visits and possible future behavioural consequences; and enhancing clinical assessment by reducing the ‘masking’ of signs due to behavioural responses.”  

Among the design elements to be implemented by Southfields are separate cat and dog entrances, separate waiting areas, a dedicated cat treatment facility, walking and comfort areas for patients and separate dog and cat exercise areas. 

Daniel, pictured, said: “This is a huge move for us in every way. Our expert team will double in size and we will become one of the largest and best-equipped referral centres in the UK.

“It was absolutely paramount for us to ensure that among the clinical excellence and state-of-the-art facilities, our patients always remained at the very core of the new centre. 

“This was our reasoning behind the consultation and this is why we have acted upon the recommendations. 

“Not only this but we will also be providing additional training to all members of the team on the impact of human interaction with patients, through factors such as handling techniques, and also on assessing emotional health of patients, so individual needs can always be met.”  

Southfields Veterinary Specialists is dedicated to providing the highest standards of veterinary care for pets and providing a seamless service to owners and referring vets.  

 The referral centre offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.  

 For more information, go to or search Southfields Veterinary Specialists on social media.  

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