A RECENT safety assessment carried out at the surgery showed that we have an inadequate system for clocking staff in and out of the building.

It just wasn’t something we had thought about too much.

With so many people coming and going, it is difficult to keep track.

Vets are constantly leaving to go on house-calls or farm visits or returning to stock up their vehicles. Animal care assistants are forever taking dogs out for a wander, so we feel like we should install a revolving door for them.

Only our receptionists and those with a first class honours degree in mathematics understand their rota and, as you might expect, our veterinary nurses are constantly sneaking out for burgers, doughnuts, crisps and chocolate at all times of the day and night. Only Aulds is totally aware of their timekeeping.

So while we have a system to evacuate the building, we do not always know who is in there. Or who is not, as the case may be.

Now this has created somewhat of a conundrum for the powers that be.

Should we install a ‘big brother is watching you’ type clocking in and out system? We have always operated a fairly successful ‘give and take arrangement’. We rely on the goodwill of our nurses to stay on late if the situation requires it.

I remember, when my wife was giving birth to our first born, that the attending medical staff were delighted she was delivered at six minutes to eight in the morning as they were due to change shift at 8am.

This wouldn’t happen with us, our nurses tend to see procedures through. So I would positively hate to upset them by making them feel that we were watching every minute.

Unusually, a pet product has come to the rescue.

The Pet Porte is a magnificent invention, developed years ago by a Guernsey vet, that will surely replace every cat-flap in the country.

Whilst it is easy to install and looks like a normal flap, it avoids unwanted visitors by cleverly recognising the microchip number of your cat, allowing only it to enter (or leave) your building. It can be programmed for up to 12 pets and it can even be set so that it will allow your cat to enter but not go out or so that it can only go out in day time.

For many that want their cat to have some freedom but are fed up with his friends gate-crashing and eating all his food or, worse still, peeing all over the house, the Pet Porte could be the answer.

Back to our conundrum, and I am sure some minor alterations to the device would enable us to use it to monitor the comings and goings of our many staff.

All we need to do is convince them that having a microchip inserted in the scruff of their neck is really as painless as it is for cats and dogs...