Property transfer between animal charities cancelled after costs exceed expectations

25 Jul 2023 News

Richard Hooker, PDSA director of veterinary services


PDSA’s plans to acquire an animal hospital from the RSPCA have been cancelled after finding that the costs and resources needed were “much greater than anticipated”, the charities have said.

Last year, the animal charities entered a partnership which included a proposed transfer of RSPCA Finsbury Park Animal Hospital and around 40 staff based at the site to PDSA.

But PDSA has now cancelled plans to take over the site after conducting “significant due diligence”, so the service and staff remain with the RSPCA. 

“As part of this process, we found that the costs, resources and time required to integrate the site into PDSA’s network of 48 pet hospitals were much greater than anticipated,” a spokesperson said.

“Therefore, PDSA and RSPCA made the joint decision not to progress with this proposal. As a result, no changes were made to the services provided at Finsbury Park RSPCA Animal Hospital while the two charities considered other options.”

The charities said in a joint statement that are looking at alternative options for the site and “remain committed to ensuring that a charitable vet service is available in the north London area”.

“Several options are currently being considered, and further information on plans for this area are expected to be available towards the end of the year,” they said.

PDSA takes on services at three RSPCA sites

Following the partnership launch in December, PDSA has taken on public-facing veterinary care services at RSPCA’s sites in Birmingham, Greater Manchester, and Merthyr Tydfil.

PDSA said that it is now able to offer support to 99% of former RSPCA clients affected by the recent changes. 

In Birmingham, PDSA now allows all former RSPCA clients to register at one of its three pet hospitals in the area – Aston, Oldbury and Wolverhampton.

It also offers services to former RSPCA clients in Greater Manchester, and plans to open to new registrations soon.

Some former RSPCA clients in Merthyr Tydfil now access services at Cardiff PDSA Pet Hospital.

Both charities have contributed equally to providing alternative support for former RSPCA clients who can no longer access services through a £1m treatment fund.

This fund provides support towards the costs of emergency treatment, and the care of chronic conditions and is being delivered in partnership with private practices.

Increasing need

Richard Hooker, PDSA director of veterinary services, said: “We have made incredible progress in the first six months of this partnership with RSPCA, and we’re committed to continuing to secure and improve services to achieve our vision – to keep pets healthy and together with their families.” 

Caroline Allen, RSPCA chief vet, said: “This exciting partnership with PDSA happened at a critical time.

“We are, sadly, dealing with an increasing number of cruelty cases and abandonments, so being able to focus our veterinary resources on offering specialised care to these sometimes complex cases, is so important.”

PDSA plans to become a provider of critical care to RSPCA animals rescued from cruelty and neglect in the future.

It will also continue to support RSPCA’s veterinary graduates’ training in Manchester by providing placements at its Manchester Pet Wellbeing Centre, to ensure they can continue to experience public-facing vet charity practice.

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