The entertainer Michael Ball yesterday opened the final phase of Fitzpatrick Referrals' new ultra-hi-tech patient wardThe entertainer Michael Ball yesterday opened the final phase of Fitzpatrick Referrals' new ultra-hi-tech patient ward, which, according to the practice, will elevate animal care to a whole new level in the UK.

The ward boasts bacterial-resistant wipe-down wall coverings and floor surfaces with underground heating, and air conditioning optimised for high efficiency particulate air to minimise the possibility of infection. 

Instead of gates or bars, the kennels have reinforced glass doors which permit a wide field of view for the animals and allow them to feel as much at home as possible. Each kennel has a space for medication and notes, and a "quick reference" daily guide is written on the glass door each morning to ensure continuity of care and ease of visibility for all. Each kennel has a radio and many are equipped with televisions to provide auditory and visual stimulation - creating a home from home experience for patients.

The practice says light is an important part of the "care package" offered in the luxury wards, and numerous windows and night time dimmers provide a diurnal rhythm to help comfort anxious animals and help those with separation anxiety to settle. Webcams are easily connected for remote viewing, and each and every patient is checked hourly by the 24 hour care team of ward assistants, fully qualified veterinary nurses, surgical interns, residents and senior clinicians.

Noel Fitzpatrick said: "I've always felt that people who love animals are generally great people, and they absolutely want to know that when their animal friend is away from home, especially if severely ill, that they are receiving round-the-clock care in the best facility imaginable. This in my head does not involve bars, so I have a "no bars" policy. I want the patient to be super-comfortable and not to feel threatened or "in prison", especially when some of them will have severe physical disability."

Michael Ball said: "I saw the Bionic Vet on television but I never thought I would find myself here.  Noel has an extraordinary talent for healing and has built an amazing team who truly do care deeply about each and every one of these patients as if they were their own pets.  They really do provide an unparalleled level of care. What Fitzpatrick Referrals has managed to do is truly remarkable. When I look at the level of hands-on care and compassion shown by all of team, I'm overwhelmed. I am hugely honoured to be associated with Fitzpatrick Referrals and what this practice stands for.  The work which is happening here is benefitting the veterinary world and the human world - it's incredible."

After cutting the ribbon and declaring the new facility officially open, Michael Ball met with Dr Fitzpatrick for the 'see out consultation' for his dog, Freddie, who has been recovering after a major hip operation at the practice.

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