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The Team

Our aim at Willows is to provide first class care for our patients and to give an excellent service to their owners and to the vets who refer cases to us. It would not be possible to provide such a service without a team of people who are committed to excellence. We are very fortunate in having just such a team of friendly, dedicated and caring staff who constantly strive to do their best for our patients and to look after them as if they were their own pets.

All our staff are actively encouraged to pursue continuing education in their various fields. They are expected to bring any new ideas and knowledge which they acquire back to the practice to share with their colleagues. In addition, they all attend regular in-house meetings and are engaged in a system of appraisals. In this way we hope continually to improve the levels of care and service which the team at Willows provides for our patients, their owners and the vets who entrust their cases to us.

Willows is a busy practice with over 175 staff, a vast array of equipment and stock items, thousands of clients, over a thousand referring vets who use our services and, in our state-of-the-art premises, up to 100 in-patients to look after at any given time.

Our Management Team has the task of keeping the innumerable component parts of the practice running smoothly, so that our staff can concentrate on achieving our goal of providing a caring, top-quality service for our patients, their owners and the referring vets who send us cases.

 

Rebecca Tomlinson

Practice Manager

Becky joined the Willows in 2011 as Client Care Manager and was appointed Practice Manager in February 2017.

Becky discovered her love of animals through her two rescue dogs, acknowledging she made every mistake in the book when it comes to being a pet owner! Her first rescue dog (a mongrel) quickly introduced her to what is fondly known as "separation anxiety"! The solution she believed was to introduce another rescue dog for company! Several pairs of curtains, shoes, toilet rolls, phone cables, sofa cushions, skirting boards and an entire sound system later, Becky invested in dog obedience training and has never looked back (although she can on occasion still be seen aquaplaning through the park at high speed attached to the end of a lead!).

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Toby Gemmill

BVSc MVM DSAS(Orth) DipECVS MRCVS

Clinical Director
RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Toby gained the RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) and the ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery in 2005 and was also awarded an MVM for research into canine elbow dysplasia. He has worked at Willows since 2005.

Toby has been an RCVS examiner in Small Animal Surgery since 2008 and has examined at both Certificate and Diploma levels. He is also a member of the RCVS Small Animal Surgery Board. Toby has maintained active research interests in addition to handling a busy clinical caseload, and he has been awarded research prizes from BSAVA, ECVS and BVOA. Toby has authored or co-authored numerous scientific papers and conference abstracts, given presentations around the world on a wide variety of topics relating to small animal orthopaedics and spinal surgery, and has regularly contributed to local CPD meetings. He enjoys all aspects of small animal orthopaedics but has particular interests in joint replacement, management of complex fractures and spinal surgery.

Toby said:
"Having worked at the Centre for many years and seen it grow into the large multi-disciplinary practice it now is, I am delighted to take up this position as Clinical Director. I am looking forward to helping lead the Centre forwards, maintaining our commitment to providing the best possible level of care to our patients, owners and referring vets."

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Will Awde

MA VetMB MRCVS

Business Development Manager

Will qualified as a vet from Cambridge University in 2012. During his years doing first opinion work he developed a strong interest in the business side of veterinary practice. Will is delighted to have started as Willows’ new business development manager in March 2016. He is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Willows and referring vets, ensuring that they, their clients and their pets receive the best referral experience possible. His first opinion grounding allows him to act as a good link between Willows and referring vets and he finds visiting them very rewarding. He is the first point of call for any queries or questions referring vets may have. Will is also involved in making sure the out-of-hours emergency service runs smoothly and continues to provide excellent care for the clients who use it.

At home, Will is the owner of a very timid rescue cat called Puddle who he rehabilitated after he was found as a young kitten in a very sorry state. He’s trying hard to build up his confidence and seeing some good success, even getting him to venture outside. At some point Will would love a dog too but that will have to wait until his cat is a bit less anxious!

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Amber Barrett

VPAC ILM5

Client Care Manager

Amber joined Willows in 2014 as the reception co-ordinator and was appointed Client Care Manager in 2015.

Amber has always had a passion for animals from hamsters to horses. At home Amber has a rescue dog called Pippin and a rescue cat called Jenson and frequently fosters cats for North Birmingham Cats Protection. In her spare time Amber is a formula one and football fan and currently manages a youth football team so spends most of her weekends standing on the touch line! As a mother to three boisterous sons, she has a good understanding of the off side rule and is more than happy to use the red card when needed!

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Debbie Lynch

RVN MBVNA

Nurse Manager

Debbie became a qualified veterinary nurse in 1979, progressing to become the head nurse in a local small animal practice until 1989 when she left to start a family. After an eleven year break she was head-hunted by one of her previous student nurses, Jenny Tubb, who by that time was the practice manager at Willows.

Debbie enjoyed the challenge of returning to work as a nurse and being presented with the practice's advanced equipment and specialist procedures. After being promoted to Nurse Manager in 2003, Debbie's role developed into more of a supervisory one and now, with the valued support from her two assistant nurse managers and the animal care manager, she assumes responsibility for the efficient running and development of the clinical support staff team.

Debbie has always loved sharing her veterinary knowledge and experience with her nursing colleagues. This interest led Debbie to become actively involved in the application for the practice to become a Registered Training Practice, and in 2009 she gained her Assessors qualification. Although no longer assessing students herself,  Debbie continues to play an important role in maintaining high standards of student nurse training. Debbie strongly believes that being a training centre of excellence provides both the practice and the profession with a continuing source of qualified, highly skilled nurses who are committed to the highest levels of patient and client care.

Debbie insists that her nurses never forget 'basic nursing skills', which she believes are as vital as all the high-tech monitoring equipment that is available in the practice. All her qualified and student nurses know that it is essential for their patients to have a structured care plan, with plenty of TLC to add to the holistic approach which in Debbie’s view is essential to produce an optimal outcome for the pets under our care and for their owners.

Debbie is a cat advocate for Willows and was thrilled to be offered this opportunity. She is the owner of four cats , all with completely different personalities and needs, and she is passionate about cat welfare, both in the home and the veterinary environment

Debbie will continue to devote her time ensuring that the pets of our valued clients go on receiving the best veterinary nursing care possible.

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Debbie Phillips

GradDipVN RVN

Deputy Nurse Manager

From a young child Debbie had always dreamed of working with animals. In 2003 Debbie joined the RSPCA Animal Hospital where she trained and gained her registered veterinary nurse qualification in 2007. After working in this busy veterinary hospital she moved on to experience first opinion practice and emergency out of hours work. Debbie progressed through her career, becoming a head nurse and clinical coach for student veterinary nurses. In 2015 she gained the Graduate Diploma in Professional and Clinical Veterinary Nursing and to date has published three articles in The Veterinary Nurse peer reviewed journal.

Debbie joined Willows in 2016 as Deputy Nurse Manager and is dedicated to promoting Willows' ethos of being ‘committed to excellence’. She has a keen interest in facilitating the progression of the veterinary nursing profession and feels that the key to this is for veterinary nurses to build upon evidence based nursing. Currently Debbie is studying the ISFM certificate in feline nursing, where she hopes to help continue the amazing standards that are practiced at Willows as a gold accredited cat friendly clinic.

Debbie feels the future at Willows is an exciting one, as they are always striving for excellence in all aspects of veterinary care. The dedication of the Willows team inspires her every day, and she is extremely proud to be part of such an innovative and professional team.

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Claire Baber

RVN MBVNA A1

Assistant Nurse Manager (Non-Surgical)

Since leaving school, Claire felt very passionate about making her career one where she could work with animals. She completed two diplomas in animal care at Warwickshire College and this journey opened Claire's eyes to some amazing careers with animals, ranging from opportunities in safari parks to others in farms and pet shops. However, it was towards the end of her college years that Claire discovered her niche, when she helped out in a local veterinary practice. It was at that point she was hooked! To be able to make a difference to these animals' lives and have the chance to develop a career in the veterinary world became her dream.

Claire knew this dream wasn't going to be easy to fulfil, but with persistence she obtained a veterinary nurse training position in a mixed veterinary practice in Warwickshire. She worked there for four years and qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2005. Wanting to follow the gold standards that she was taught at college, Claire applied for a position at Willows and has never looked back since she started working here!

The importance of good training and support whilst studying to become a nurse is a subject very close to Claire's heart, and in 2008 she was offered the chance to become an A1 assessor for Willows, to guide our student veterinary nurses through their study. Claire has found this to be a very rewarding role, and she is very proud of her students and what a great asset they are to the practice.

On moving into the Willows fantastic new premises in 2009, Claire was promoted to Assistant Nurse Manager (non-surgical). Claire is very dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of care for all our patients and looks forward to seeing their happy little faces when she comes into work first thing every morning!

Claire is a member of the team of cat advocates at Willows – she understands how important our superb clincial environment and excellent husbandry are for all the patients that visit us, but also recognises how stressful a visit to the vets can be for our feline friends, and that we need to take special measures in caring for them to the highest standards.

In 2010 Claire completed her qualification for the Institute of Leadership and Management. Following this Claire obtained her certificate in anaesthesia and critical care. Claire believes that Willows is definitely a great place to fulfil her dream and pursue a career in veterinary nursing to the highest levels!

 

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David Hindley

Animal Care Manager

David answered his animal care calling back in 1999 when he attended Solihull College and studied for his National Diploma in Applied Science and Animal Management. After gaining valuable practical and academic experience he decided to pursue a career in the veterinary world.

In 2002 David applied for a position of animal care assistant at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service. David saw this as a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable experience in animal care and work alongside general practice clinicians and specialist vets in a progressive small animal practice 

David's knowledge and ability have gone from strength to strength and he has become an extremely valued member of staff. Due to his level of commitment to the practice, his colleagues and, most importantly, the patients in his care, David was promoted to Animal Care Manager in 2007. David's main aim is to provide the best levels of care to our patients by supporting the animal care assistants in his team and seeing that their knowledge, development and commitment are maintained to the highest of standards at all times.

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Sally-Anne Jones

ILM3

Administration Manager

Sally joined the Willows in 2008 initially looking after accounts and administration. As Willows moved into new premises and grew significantly, Sally took on the challenging role of Administration Manger.

Sally adopted Peppa a black Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Peppa needed specialist surgery for a congenital defect which prevented her being eligible for guide dog training. Peppa is joined at home by Jonesy a Jack Russell cross Pomeranian who’s as cute as a button but devilishly naughty and four mini lop Rabbits, one of whom regularly models for Willows' advertising material! You can spot him on the waiting rooms screens in reception!

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