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Rata's origins
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Rata’s roots are in New Zealand where the founder, Andrew Scrimgeour, grew up and went to University at Massey and where he started his journey moving away from general practice towards specialising in orthopaedic surgery... In 2010 Andrew secured a surgical role back at Massey, 23 years after graduating, and whilst there he achieved Membership of the Australian and NZ College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery (MANZCVSc (Surgery)) and a Masters program in Surgery (MVM(Surgery)). Returning to the UK Andrew then pursued  an alternative track RCVS Residency in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics). Study and training was always a part of Andrew and he had a strong appetite for continued learning attending many courses, and spending many weeks at both Liverpool Vet School and Southern Counties Vet Specialists (SCVS) (2013-2015) as well as having papers published in the VCOT and other veterinary journals.

During his time back in the UK Andrew recognised the need for a dedicated visiting surgery service in the South-West and set up Rata Vet Surgery (registered as Rata Karahehe Ltd - meaning animal doctor in Māori) to offer a certificate level orthopedic service delivered directly to vets and pet owners at their own veterinary practices. This service started in and around Bristol and soon expanded regionally and in size with currently 8 surgeons and six support staff. Andrew’s excellent surgical skills, complimented by his compassionate nature and relaxed demeanor meant the demand for the services offered by both him, and the Rata team, grew from strength to strength and Rata Vet Surgery has never looked back. 

Rata has developed a reputation for compassion, quality and expertise backed up by an experienced administrative and nursing team to deliver an affordable experienced service to general practice. Our surgeons have all had a background in general practice, they understand the day to day challenges and are therefore well placed to work synergistically with your primary care team. Indeed our Rata practices see the Rata surgeons as an extended, integral part of their practice.

Over the years Rata has developed and refined procedures for easing the referral process for you. We have a wealth of client communication hand-outs to prepare and inform clients for surgical cases. Auditing has become an integral process within the group to ensure monitoring of cases outcomes and complications and further continued learning is passionately pursed by all of our team.

About us
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Rata Veterinary Surgery is a professional yet friendly dedicated visiting referral service that offers a comprehensive range of surgical procedures to your practice. Our surgeons are all experienced referral surgeons with a wealth of orthopaedic training. Supported by a dedicated administration and nursing team we provide a professional, cost effective and efficient surgical service for your patients.

Our service:

• Enables you to treat the majority of orthopaedic cases in house that may otherwise be referred externally - generally, clients are delighted to have their pets treated at their local vets and with people they trust rather than travelling a distance to referral centres.

• Endeavours to provide comprehensive support to you and your clients with detailed information sheets and after-care, and accessible phone or email advice - management of cases remains with you, so that you know exactly what is going on, and are not reliant on communication from referral hospitals.

• Arrives with all necessary equipment including instruments and power tools, local anaesthetics, disposables (full drape pack with sterile gown, vet wrap etc.) and suture materials - we are self - contained within your practice.

• Charges a fixed fee agreed in advance - this allows accurate quoting for procedures and makes it affordable for both insured/ uninsured. Our fees cover the procedure, implants and consumables - all income derived from anaesthetics, laboratory fees, radiography, hospitalisation, drugs, dressings and so on, remains within the practice.

How our service works
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We ask that you make your initial case referral through our online referral form. Our managers will pass the case details and records onto the appropriate surgeon, who will report back to you directly with their assessment and recommendations.

An appointment is then made for consultation or surgery, and our surgeon will arrive with all necessary equipment and consumables.

Once the surgery is complete the surgeon phones the client with an update, writes the clinical notes on our specialised practice management system which then emails them promptly to your practice. The surgeon will leave detailed case management advice for your veterinary team.

For more information on how to use our online referral form and the referral process, please click here.

Who we are

We are a friendly team of veterinary surgeons with a wealth of experience in small animal orthopaedic surgery.

Clare grew up in Tauranga, New Zealand, and graduated from Massey University in 1999.

After working a ski season in California and travelling for a period of time, she moved to the UK and worked in mixed general practice in Devon and Cornwall. Clare developed a keen interest in small animal surgery and gained her RCVS Cert SAS in 2009.

In her spare time, Clare enjoys walking her dogs, travelling and making pets out of her husband’s many dairy cows.

Areas of Interest
  • Fracture management.
  • Saving strays from needing amputations.
Published papers
Pantarsal arthrodesis in cats using orthoganol plating. Alza Salvatierra, Diego N.; Witte, Philip G.; Scott, Harry W.; Catchpole, Clare. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery, Jan2018, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p45-54, 10p. Read paper

Matt qualified from Liverpool University in 2005 after which he spent a his first years in practice at the busy London RSPCA Harmsworth Hospital dealing with a high volume of trauma cases. Following this he took some time to locum in Australia and around the UK before settling in the South West. Matt has since worked within a multi-disciplinary hospital in Bath and held a Clinical Director role at a South Bristol clinic where he was lead surgeon before joining us in January 2017.

Matt has always had a passion for surgery and has recently passed his certificate in general small animal surgery with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

In his spare time Matt plays football and heads for a surf when there are waves - he is currently training for a 10km river swim in Snowdonia and the Perranporth Surf Triathlon. He has a rescue cat called Alan who he claims is definitely not fat!

Areas of Interest
  • Adjunctive therapies: Hydrotherapy, physio, neutraceuticles
  • Fracture repairs

At 20 years of age Heidi graduated from University College London (UCL) with an honours degree in Anatomy and Developmental Embryology and a passion for Anatomy and Physiology. Five years later in 1999 she graduated from the Royal veterinary College London (RVC) with a passion for surgery.

The first 19 years of her career were spent living and working in the UK and overseas as a GP vet with a surgical bias. She has also been fortunate to spend some time working overseas for animal charities which was an amazingly rewarding experience.

Heidi recently gained her ESVPS small animal surgery certificate and joined Rata in 2018 to continue her learning journey in orthopaedic surgery for the second half of her career. She is quoted as saying "I can now say I have the best job in the world".

Outside of work Heidi is a busy mum of 2 children and 3 dogs. When she finds extra time, she likes to run (slowly), swim (fast), surf (badly and only in warm water) and SUP (preferably in warm water as she falls off frequently).

Areas of Interest
  • Surgical treatments for advanced arthritis and pain; such a stem cell therapy and weight realigning procedures (e.g. Paul)
  • Effects of obesity on inflammation and joint pain.
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Arthroscopy

Bryan grew up on a sheep farm about 200 km south-east of Perth, Western Australia. He graduated from Murdoch University in 2003. He initially worked in his home town doing mixed practice for a year before coming over to Britain to work in a busy small animal hospital in Berkshire. Eventually he ended up running a 3 site practice in Oxford as a Clinical Director for a veterinary corporation for 6 years until the end of 2017. Since then he has been locuming with a focus on soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery as well as training practices to use laparoscopic soft tissue surgery.

After an additional 2 years of study Bryan passed his Cert AVP(GSAS) from Liverpool University in 2015 having always had a passion for surgery.

Bryan lives in Berkshire and owns two small pugs - Herman and Doreen and a rescue British Short Hair called Coco Butters. Bryan likes music festivals, Halloween, and going for bike rides with his pugs. Bryan dislikes Brussels sprouts, the A34 and beer.

Areas of Interest
  • Cruciate disease
  • Patella Repair
  • Feline Orthopaedics
  • Advanced soft tissue surgery such as TECA, brachycephalic surgery, anal glands and urogenital surgery.

Duncan graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011 he subsequently completed an internship at Dick White referrals.

He went on to further his experience as lead surgeon at several hospitals in Hampshire and Berkshire.

Duncan completed his Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Surgery and became an RCVS recognised advanced practitioner in small animal surgery in 2015. He added his Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Diagnostic imaging in 2020.

His last role, before joining Rata, was as lead surgeon and clinical director of an 18 Vet, 24 hour hospital in Southampton.

Duncan’s interests range from Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome to fracture repair and most things in between!

Duncan shares his home with 2 springer spaniels, Claude the cross eyed cat and many ducks! He enjoys going to the gym, snowboarding and playing club cricket.

Areas of Interest
  • Cranial cruciate ligament disease
  • Arthroscopy
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Reconstructive soft tissue surgery
  • Ultrasonography
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia for surgical patients

George graduated from the Royal Veterinary college in 2011 after which he spent his first few years in several different small animal practices in the Thames Valley area.

Since 2015 George has worked in a busy multidisciplinary hospital in Finchampstead where he studied through the University of Liverpool to obtain RCVS certification in small animal surgery. George became lead surgeon in the same clinic in 2017 and has since taken referrals in both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery from local practices.

George has always had an interest in surgery and enjoys all aspects from cruciate surgery to fracture repairs and a wide range of soft tissue procedures including laparoscopic surgery.

In his spare time, he enjoys bike riding, skiing and hiking. George has two cats, Minnie and Teazle who spend most of their time pestering him for food or sleeping.

Areas of Interest
  • Cruciate disease and treatment
  • Fracture repair

Hannah graduated from Bristol University in 2009 after which she spent her first two years in small animal practice and out-of-hours in the Midlands area.

In 2011 Hannah undertook a rotating internship at Willows Referral Centre in Solihull where she was introduced to the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association, receiving the Leslie Vaughan prize for presenting an abstract at a scientific meeting and joining the committee. In order to gain surgical experience Hannah worked at the charity PDSA for seven years, latterly in a management role, and studied through the University of Liverpool to obtain RCVS certification in small animal surgery.

Hannah has always had an interest in surgery since her elective at University and enjoys fracture repair planning.

In her spare time she is an amateur in rearing rare breed poultry, beekeeping and competing in triathlons. Her Rhodesian Ridgeback Winston is the love of her life.

Areas of Interest
  • Fracture Repair

James graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2013 and went on to a mixed practice in South Wales. After a period in the Yorkshire Dales he moved down to Devon and developed an interest in all things surgery but particularly orthopaedics. From here he gained the certificate in advanced veterinary practice (CertAVP) and was covering the orthopaedic caseload of two large west country practices before joining Rata.

James has an interest in sports and working dogs and is a member of the British Veterinary Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Association.

Outside of work James enjoys cycling and running with his two kelpies and jack russell terrier.

Areas of Interest
  • Rehabilitation

Cate was born in London, but grew up in Australia and graduated from Queensland University in 1996. She worked for 2 years in mixed practice near Melbourne before moving to the UK.

Cate initially worked in mixed practice in the UK too, but after realising she wanted to concentrate on surgery, joined Bath Veterinary Group where she gained both her RCVS certificate and ANZCVS membership in small animal surgery.

She worked as a referral vet for 2 years at Bath Veterinary Referrals carrying out both soft tissue and orthopaedic procedures before she joined Rata Veterinary Surgery in December 2012.

When Cate is not chasing/looking after her 3 small children, she tries to fit in some walking, swimming and reading.

Areas of Interest
  • Canine stifle surgery
  • Feline Patella Luxation
Published papers

In the process of submitting a case series on feline patella luxation cases managed without TCT.

Ivan graduated from the University of Zagreb in 2010 and initially worked in mixed practice while earning a Masters in Pharmaceutics. After earning Postgraduate Certification in Small Animal Surgery in 2018, he completed an internship at Willows Referral Service in Solihull, and has since been providing referral surgical services to practices in Leicestershire.

Ivan is happy doing both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgical procedures.

Areas of Interest

Lucy graduated from the University of Bristol in 2011 with a degree in Veterinary Nursing and Practice Administration. Since graduation she has worked in a variety of rewarding roles within the Bristol area, most recently as a head nurse in a first opinion practice.

In her spare time Lucy enjoys baking (and eating!) cake and running, recently completing the Bath Half Marathon. At home she is kept company by her cat, two house rabbits, a tortoise (which was only ‘staying the weekend - promise!’) and her very understanding fiance!

Areas of Interest
  • Anaesthesia
  • Analgesia
  • Post operative rehabilitation

Vicky completed her degree in Veterinary Nursing at the University of Bristol in 2007, during which time she also gained her Veterinary Practice Administration Certificate (VPAC).

She enjoyed a variety of roles as a locum in and around Bristol, which included first opinion and referral work, as well as a couple of years spent abroad in animal shelters and practice. Prior to joining Rata, Vicky held a head nurse position in first opinion practice and concurrently, had 5 years’ experience of lecturing veterinary nurse students.

Vicky has a keen interest in anaesthesia & analgesia and has complemented her Rata work by completing her ESVP NCert (Anaesthesia).

In her spare time, Vicky enjoys the release of any sport but in particular: outdoor swimming, yoga and running. She relishes being able to travel and experience local cuisine! These hobbies are now juggled around her little boy and rescue Bengal cat Mango!

Areas of Interest
  • Anaesthesia
  • Analgesia
  • Clinical audits

Hayley lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, with her family and pets. After many years of travelling and working in the travel industry, she qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1997 and worked as a RVN in the Bournemouth area. She went on to locum for 4 years in small animal practices gaining valuable experience and understanding how to adapt quickly to new circumstances. Hayley eventually settled in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to raise a family and support her husband’s Vets4Pets practice in Southampton; paying particular attention to organising and customer care. 

After starting work for Rata at the beginning of 2015, Hayley acts as liaison between the practice and the vet to ensure a smooth line of communication.

Her interests include keeping fit, writing, running a book club, cooking, body boarding and skiing.

Libby has been part of the Rata team for eighteen months working alongside Hayley taking care of the administrative duties.

Libby began her career as a registered electrologist, she then decided to join the airline industry for a couple of years to ‘see the world’. Twelve years later she finally packed her uniform away and settled in Hampshire to raise her son, where she now lives with her family and two dogs.

Libby is a keen animal lover and over the years has owned and cared for a variety of pets including a horse, dogs, cats, chickens ducks and a rescued turkey!

In her spare time Libby enjoys running and yoga classes. She is also a keen florist.

Lorraine has been working with the Rata team for the last few years providing invaluable support in the accounts department. She has a wealth of experience in managing accounts and has worked in the veterinary sector for a number of years.

If you need to contact her directly regarding an issue with an invoice she is available here: accounts@ratavetsurgery.co.uk

Our environmental policy
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Proposal for Green initiatives at Rata – our Environmental management scheme

To consider our environmental impact as a team and set an environmental policy. Commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and become more sustainable in our daily actions.

To share ideas and resources as a team to empower others to make a positive change and become more sustainable in our daily actions.

A part of this will be to:

Our actions:

To audit our working practices

To consider which areas of our work have the highest carbon emissions – an understanding of what is and what isn’t avoidable – ‘off setting’ our impact.

Which areas will have carbon benefits because of small change/quick wins?

Prioritise those areas identified and support planning an action development plan – where can we eliminate, reduce or substitute for lower carbon intensity?

Understand what we are going to do today and what we plan to do in the future – name ‘Green Champion (s) of Rata

Key environmental impacts of Rata:

  • Transport of personnel
  • Anaesthesia/ Use of volatile anaesthetic agents
  • Waste production and disposal
  • Paper usage
  • Procurement and supplies
  • Water saving measures

Transport of personnel and equipment:

Create a travel policy to reduce emissions from business travel, commuting and freight.

Support cycling/use of public transport/lift sharing where appropriate.

Use of electric/hybrid vehicles within the team.

Driving within a fuel- efficient manner (https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/how-to/fuel-saving-tips/)

Plan equipment distribution between team members to minimise trips

Anaesthesia/Use of Volatile anaesthetic agents:

Appropriate scavenging and circuit choice

Leak check systems

Utilise low flow anaesthesia – use of capnography

Use re-breathing systems and low flow non-rebreathing systems where appropriate

Avoid nitrous oxide

Use volatile agent – sparing drugs and techniques

Waste production and disposal:

Only open equipment intended for immediate use

Purchase reusable or reprocessed equipment

Adjust stock levels to minimise discarding items – share between team as appropriate

Evaluate waste handling

Segregate waste according to legal frameworks

Recycle where possible

Utilise reusable containers

Minimise packaging

Use reusable textiles (surgical hats, gowns, use of surgical shoes rather than covers, buy in bulk and refill, avoid excessive use of incontinence pads, re-usable heating devices such as Bair huggers/discs rather than hot hands)

Paper usage:

Double-sided printing

Go paper free where appropriate - refer to online resources

Laminate and re-use record sheets such as checklists

Use responsible paper sourcing – recycled paper/FSC certified paper

Recycle paper after use

Procurement and supplies:

Make sustainable choices when purchasing equipment/consumables

‘Call -out’ wholesalers with their ‘Supplier Code of Conduct’

Use suppliers with green credentials

Consider life cycle costs of a product

Encourage suppliers to minimise packaging and take back any packaging

Water Saving measures:

Use alcohol-based hand scrub once scrub 1 is complete for the day to reduce water consumption

Efficient use of towels and blankets to minimise washing


British Bee Vets: https://britishbeevets.com/how-to-get-involved/

BVA: https://www.bva.co.uk/take-action/working-towards-a-greener-profession/

Davies Veterinary Specialists: https://vetspecialists.co.uk/sustainability/

Investors in Environment: https://www.iie.uk.com/

IVC Evidensia: https://ivcevidensia.com/how-we-work/sustainability/

RAC: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/how-to/fuel-saving-tips/

Recycle Now: https://www.recyclenow.com/

Terracycle: https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/

The Carbon Trust: https://www.carbontrust.com/

Vet Sustain: https://vetsustain.org/

Wrap: https://wrap.org.uk/

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