Referrals & Second Opinions
All farriers should recognise when a case is outside their own area of competence and be prepared to refer it to a colleague whom they are satisfied is competent to carry out the investigations or treatment involved. This often involves contacting the client's veterinary surgeon with the knowledge of the owner. Asking for a second opinion is not a sign of weakness or inferiority. Properly arranged consultations will advance the reputation of both parties in the eyes of the public and the owner. Farriers should be aware that the client has a right to request a referral or second opinion. In such cases, the initial contact should be made by the primary farrier or veterinary surgeon as appropriate and the client then asked to arrange the appointment.
The distinction between a second opinion and a referral should be clearly understood by both farrier and client. A second opinion is for confirmation of the proposed course of action, whereas a referral to a referral practice will be for possible treatment, after which the case should be referred back to the original farrier. Neither a second opinion farrier nor a referral practice should ever seek to take over the client.
A case history and instructions as to the particular reason for referral should be supplied. Any further information which may be requested should be supplied promptly.
Farriers should not use a referral as an opportunity to pass on difficult clients, or known bad debtors.
The primary farrier should have the opportunity to correct or amend his/her work before referral to another farrier, if a problem has been highlighted by a third party.
Referrals to other farriers should not be made without the primary farrier’s knowledge.
Taking Over Clients
Although both farrier and client have freedom of choice, as a matter of professional courtesy and in the interests of the welfare of the horse involved, a farrier should not knowingly take over a colleague’s customer without informing the colleague in question. Farriers should not encourage clients to leave another farrier in favour of themselves or attempt to take advantage of temporary arrangements such as referrals or holiday cover to gain clients.