Darren Partridge, owner of Molesey Vets, shares his passion for his calling, the animals that continue to intrigue him and his role as their spokesperson.
Words | Lucy Donoughue
2023 will be a major event for Molesey Vets. They’ll mark fifty years of serving the local community and our beloved animals and co-owner of the practice, Darren Partridge, will celebrate 30 years of veterinary service and 16 years of being at the helm of the much-loved Park Road centre.
Darren’s passion for working with animals started way before he came to Molesey or was able to academically study to be a vet. At just seven years of age, he’d read all the James Herriot books and watched the original 1970s TV series and was hooked.
After graduating as a vet some years later, Darren moved to Yorkshire and practised in the Dales, making house visits to assist animals and their owners in times of need, just as his childhood hero had.
Fast forward almost three decades later and Darren now heads up a fiercely independent and ethical group of veterinary centres, collectively named The Partridge Practices. Molesey Vets’ sister sites are Alpha Vets in Teddington, Claygate Vets and the incredible local facility, North Surrey Emergency Vets, which provides around the clock and critical care for our beloved pets and wildlife.
Here, Darren shares his thoughts on the highs and lows of working as a vet and the animal he’s the most likely to be wary of (and it’s not what you’d think!)
Congratulations on your upcoming anniversaries Darren! What spurs you on in
the work you do?
I’m genuinely passionate about providing ethical and independent veterinary services that result in the right outcomes for every animal that we come into contact with. What we do within our practises can make the world of difference to that animal and we have to constantly be their voice, their spokesperson.
Being an independent vet is clearly important to you, can you share more?
It’s actually written into our ownership agreement that we’ll always be independent and never sell out to a corporate. This means that we can always choose the right treatment over the corporately ascribed treatment, we can work together as a group to negotiate lower costs for a range of supplies and equipment, we skill share without concern or competition and the decisions we make are always down to us – rather than someone in a boardroom who might not have first-hand experience,
or a passion for working with animals.
A practical example of this, is that we would never euthanise a healthy animal that needs treatment where there’s an issue with lack of funds, because of our own bottom line. We can make the decision to support that need, and I do.
Tell us about North Surrey Emergency Vets?
This is an incredible facility to have on our doorstep! We’re so proud to be able to provide that, and again independently. We support over forty Surrey practises, including our own, with 24/7 cover and overnight emergency care.
We also have a wide range of diagnostic equipment on site, including a new CT scanner, digital x-ray machine and we can turn a wide number of blood tests around in between 20 minutes to an hour.
It’s a difficult time when an animal in your life is in pain or has experienced a trauma, and our team are fully trained and equipped to manage every circumstance.
You’re clearly passionate about your work, do you have any special areas of interest?
In addition to general surgery, I love working with a wide range of animals, including fish, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and more!! I’ve consulted and treated such a variety; tortoises from Birmingham, snakes in India, bearded dragons, geckos, the lot! They’re absolutely fascinating.
A lot of people might be scared at the thought of treating snakes or spiders. Is there an animal you’re wary of?
Hamsters! It may sound odd and they are generally wonderful, but they are very speedy, sometimes grumpy and they can twist and give you a nasty bite when you try to pick them up. The bite may not kill you, but it can really hurt!
Molesey Veterinary Centre
4 Park Road, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9LE
020 8979 1384
Find out more at partridgepractices.co.uk/molesey-vets/