Robin Bone has been a recognised and much loved face at 608 Vets for almost 4 decades. As he enters into retirement, he has reflected on his time here and shares his memories with colleagues, clients, and friends in this open letter.
“I’m leaving 608 Vet Practice after 37 years and 112 days. I would like to thank everyone with whom I have worked over the years – partners, managers, vets, nurses and support staff who have kept me busy in such an interesting and rewarding career.
I started at 608 in January 1985 after a year in mixed practice in Loughborough. 608 was a mixed practice then and there were five of us on the small animal side. We worked one and half weekends in four and were on duty 1-2 nights a week. Our weekends started on Saturday at 9.00am and went through to Monday at 7.00pm, including covering nights, without a break. This has improved over the years and there is now a much better work/life balance for the vets. Southside taking over night work has been one of the best changes in my career. I became a salaried partner in 1990 and an equity partner in 1991, joining John Heath, Jack Waters, Roland Robson and Steve Borsberry.
I have always spent most of my time at the Acocks Green surgery and have enjoyed providing veterinary care for the area. Acocks Green has always had a great loyal group of clients and it has been rewarding to try and provide the best veterinary care possible within the limited budgets available to some of the clients.
John Heath and Roland Robson laid the foundations for the reputation of the small animal side and we have always aimed to provide a good first opinion small animal service. I am proud to have been a part of that along with Deborah, Graham and Lesley when we were all partners until 2018.
As a child, my family had many tortoises and so I have always been interested in them from a veterinary point of view. In the late 1980s, I became associated with a very active branch of the BCG (British Chelonia Group) in Birmingham. We carried out a lot of studies and original work on tortoise husbandry and medical conditions. In 1988, I submitted some biopsy samples from tortoises that had died from a severe form of mouth rot. This led to the identification of a Herpes virus. This was the first virus ever isolated from a Mediterranean tortoise. Since then, this virus has become the subject of international research and is recognised as a significant pathogen causing a wide range of immunosuppressive diseases. Due to the long life-span of tortoises, I have been seeing some of them for thirty years or more. I have dealt with all sorts of other reptiles and amphibians and this has been a fascinating extra dimension to my work.
I was a founder director of Southside Emergency Clinic in 1999. This started as a group of local practices, but not including 608, who shared their night and weekend work. It was decided to establish a dedicated centre for this service, from where a much more comprehensive and better care could be provided. We eventually had eighteen practices using the service and employed a large team of vets, nurses, manager and ambulance drivers. It was a service which transformed the lives of local vets, who no longer had to be on duty at night (as well as working during the day) and provided a much better service for the pets in Birmingham and Solihull. The service has now moved to 608 and we have run it since then.
Being a vet has been such a great career, despite the long hours and some stressful, challenging situations and cases. I have always enjoyed being involved in the management of the practice too. It adds variety to my day to deal with other issues like surgery property improvements, health and safety, ideas for new equipment and nurse training (I was an assessor for many years). It is important for any practice, no matter how good, to be constantly thinking of ways to improve and introduce new ideas, techniques and equipment. Linnaeus have shown that they are very keen to invest in this practice and allow our vets to be able to continue to offer a great first opinion veterinary service.
I would like to wish Deborah, Roshni & Lindsey, along with Katie and Lesa, every success in continuing to manage this practice and taking it forward with the strong support from Linnaeus.
All the best, Robin”
We’d like to thank Robin for everything he has done for 608 Vets and the thousands of patients he has looked after over the years.
Enjoy your retirement, Robin!