|Putney Animal Hospital Closure Confirmed|
Staff have been told by the RSPCA the hospital will be closing in September
Last Friday (July 31) members of staff and local MP Fleur Anderson protested outside the hospital on Clarendon Drive, highlighting the importance of the service for local people who may not be able to afford private veterinary bills or neutering otherwise.
But today (August 7) the RSPCA confirmed that suggestions made to save the service would not be enough to make up for “urgent cost savings”.
They said that final decisions will be communicated on Monday (August 10), but staff say all 43 of them are set to lose their jobs.
It is understood that the animal hospital will not be accepting owned pets from August 24, and will close for good on September 30.
An RSPCA staff member, who did not wish to be named, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that staff were “very upset”.
They said: “We had been led to believe quite strongly that they were in very good talks with another charity to take over. So I think a lot of us, really everyone, didn’t really believe that it was over because we thought another charity might come in.”
The staff member said: “It came as a bit of a shock, there’s nothing. Obviously now it’s sinking in for people, it hadn’t before because we thought something else might happen.
“So now obviously we are looking for work in a terrible job market.”
Staff had raised concerns about what measures will be put in place to replace the service, especially its free neutering scheme and wildlife service.
Putney MP Fleur Anderson tweeted: “This is devastating news for pet owners, staff and RSPCA branches and supporters.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Meetings were held with staff across the RSPCA this week to convey the latest news on the counter proposals on the restructure.
“We appreciate the views and proposals put forward during the consultation about the amazing work of Putney Animal Hospital. These were considered at the highest level and discussed with hospital and centre staff. Unfortunately the suggestions made up to this point would not deliver the urgent cost savings needed or support the objective to rebalance the provision of service across England and Wales.
“We have been clear and transparent from the start about the critical need to address our financial situation given that the pandemic has exacerbated an already challenging financial picture and we face a high degree of uncertainty in the coming years ahead. We have to take action now in order to protect our vital animal welfare services and we are listening to and engaging with both staff and the union.
“The executive team are concluding considerations of counter proposals received. Final decisions will be communicated on Monday (August 10).
“We know this is a very difficult and unsettling time for our staff who have continued to work hard through these challenging times, but these changes are urgent and essential if we are to protect our crucial services for the future.”