About Bridge Referrals

Bridge Referrals is a referral centre that endeavours to provide pet owners and veterinary practices of the North East a range of advanced treatments at realistic and affordable costs, without compromising on excellent service and standard of care.

Our name, Bridge Referrals, evolved from the desire to bridge the gap between first opinion practices and referral centres. It is important that we are approachable and referring veterinary surgeons feel comfortable enough to reach out for our advice and support whenever it is needed. This allows us to support first opinion veterinary practices in the continued care of your pet.

Bridge Referrals is the creation of five referral clinicians with the same shared vision of running their own independent referral centre with their core values at the heart of the services they provide.

Core values:

  • Community: we are proud to provide a service that contributes to the wider society and economy.  Team Bridge is our work community, and we support our team to deliver exceptional care to our patients and clients.
  • Compassion: being kind and compassionate is the essence of delivering care, this is important in looking after our patients, each other, and ourselves.
  • Life/work balance: we want everyone who works here to enjoy being part of Bridge Referrals.  We recognise that to provide high standards of patient care it is important to have time off to rest and enjoy life at home.
  • Respect and inclusivity: we treat our referring practices, clients and staff with respect and dignity, no matter the circumstances.
  • Sustainability: delivering sustainable high-quality care, that is affordable now and in the future, that delivers positive social impact and minimises damaging the environment is at the heart of our business.

Meet Team Bridge

Darren Long BVetMed(Hons) PGCertSAM(Distinction) MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Director
Referral clinician in Oncology and Internal Medicine
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine

Darren graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, with Honours, in 2010. He started working in mixed practice before deciding to move into referral practice where he has undertaken further training in small animal internal medicine and oncology. He has worked in referral practice for over a decade now and enjoys the wide variety of medicine and oncology cases he sees. He has a keen interest in oncology, and is working towards a European advanced masters degree in canine and feline clinical oncology.

Darren has attended courses in interventional radiology at the Universitat autonoma Barcelona Veterinary school and is trained in procedures including tracheobronchial, urinary tract and intravascular stenting including embolisation of intrahepatic portosystemic shunts. This same procedure can also be used as part of cancer therapy to selectively occlude arteries feeding a tumour as well as targeted local chemotherapy.

Most recently he has introduced the use of electrochemotherapy to Bridge referrals to increase the array of options we have to treat the various types of cancer that we see.

He has always had an enthusiasm for teaching and he taught clinical anatomy to veterinary students at the Royal Veterinary College and takes responsibility for the education of veterinary students and nurses within the medicine and oncology departments. He has presented at numerous conferences including the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) congress and is passionate about the further education and autonomy of veterinary nurses, empowering them to become maximally involved in the management of the patients we see.

Outside of work, Darren is kept busy with DIY, keeping his huge number of houseplants alive, cooking, getting outdoors and keeping fit. He has a cat called Layla and a young Border Terrier called Lewis who is typically a bit of a handful. Darren and the rest of the team at Bridge Referrals look forward to getting to meet your companions!

Emma Mace BVetMed CertAVP (GSAS) MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Director
Orthopaedic Surgeon
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

Emma was born and bred in the south and after graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in London she decided to make the move to the North East with her husband Chris to start her veterinary career. She spent six years in practice where her love for surgery and orthopaedics was founded. After completion of her surgical certificate, Emma pursued her passion for orthopaedics becoming a referral clinician and this is where she has been ever since. Emma is enthusiastic and always keen to learn and improve, she enjoys all aspects of surgery, in particular the varied caseload that referral work encounters, no day is ever mundane in the surgery department.

Emma is a big advocate of a positive working environment and culture, she believes that everyone should be nurtured and encouraged to reach their full potential as well as feeling that they are an integral and an important part of the team. We all spend so much of our lives working, so it is important that people feel fulfilled in their job roles.

Emma has two young lively daughters Olivia and Isabelle who keep her very busy. In her spare time she enjoys playing netball, her favourite position is GA and has played for a local team and league ever since moving to Newcastle. At home, Emma enjoys baking and trying new recipes, she particularly enjoys making her girls their birthday cakes each year. Emma has an obsession for the colour pink so is easily identifiable as she walks round the corridors in her bright pink surgical scrubs and pink crocs.

Jack Sillito BVMS PGCertSAS MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Director
Orthopaedic Surgeon
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

Jack qualified from Glasgow University in 2009 and originally worked in mixed practice in Scotland before returning to Glasgow University to complete an Internship. In 2012 he moved to the North East to work in a practice taking Orthopaedic referrals and has worked in a referral setting ever since. Jack enjoys orthopaedic and neurosurgery cases with a particular interest in stifle pathology and complex fractures.

As one of the founders of Bridge Referrals, Jack will ensure that we support continued development for all our staff. We want everyone to feel like they have our backing to achieve their ambitions and learning goals. This not only means that Bridge Referrals is a better place to work and grow, but that we provide the best level of care possible to our client’s beloved pets.

Outside of work Jack likes to spend time with his wife Sarah and their two young children Isla and Finn. They have two labradors to take for walks in the countryside around the North East and 4 chickens which require fewer walks but provide more eggs.

Sarah Harrison BVMS CertVOphthal MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Director
Veterinary Ophthalmologist
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology

Sarah developed her interest in veterinary ophthalmology when seeing practice in South Africa whilst studying for her veterinary degree at Glasgow University. After gaining her degree she worked in both mixed and companion animal practice, whilst obtaining her RCVS certificate in ophthalmology. Since gaining her certificate she has worked in referral ophthalmology taking referrals from all over the North of England. Sarah enjoys all aspects of ophthalmology but particularly enjoys corneal and intraocular surgery. She is a self-confessed ‘eye nerd’ and enjoys teaching others in her favourite subject.

Sarah is fanatical about sustainability at work and at home, with an emphasis on reducing our environmental impact and conserving biodiversity. She has a certificate in environmental management and is an associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. She leads the sustainable development at Bridge Referrals and is passionate at passing on her knowledge and influencing others.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, friends and three cats. She is a Mum of four, and regularly visits Scotland to see family. She is a volunteer veterinary advisor for several wildlife and domestic animal charities and is a trustee for The Tynemouth Seal Hospital charity. When the weather allows, she is a keen snowboarder, stand-up paddle boarder and gardener.

Alison Kennair BVMS CertAVP (GSAS) MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Director
Soft Tissue Surgeon
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

Alison qualified from Glasgow University in 1995 and has had a varied career path, starting in mixed practice before travelling and then settling into small animal practice. This progressed into referral work after gaining her certificate in small animal surgery. She enjoys seeing a variety of soft tissue cases and also has an interest in neurology and neurosurgery. Her particular interests include minimally invasive procedures, surgical oncology and spinal surgery.

As one of the founders of Bridge referrals, Alison is committed to staff well being and a positive team culture. This along with doing our best for a sustainable future, will make Bridge a great place to be for our clients and staff.

Outside of work, Alison is passionate about nature and exploring the great outdoors, with her family and two dogs, in particular hiking, camping, cycling, skiing and yoga. She has two lurchers, with young Ernie being a recent addition. She also loves a good curry!

Mark Gosling MA BSAVA PGCertSAS VetMB DipECVS MRCVS EBVS© European & RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Bridge Referrals

Head of Soft Tissue Surgery
European & RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Mark moved up to the north east after graduating and has worked here ever since! He spent five years in primary care practice, during which he completed the BSAVA certificate in small animal surgery. He then moved to a large referral centre in 2016 to undertake a surgical residency (specialist training programme), subsequently sitting and passing his diploma exams to become a European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. This is the highest level of veterinary surgical training and involves extensive experience with both clinical work and research. Mark is experienced in all areas of soft tissue surgery and has particular interests in hepatic (liver) and thoracic (chest) surgery, as well as minimally invasive & interventional procedures.

Mark enjoys teaching and regularly presents professional development topics for vets in the north east. He is also Associate Editor for a clinical veterinary journal and serves on committees of both UK and European veterinary organisations.

Mark completes his move to Bridge Referrals having worked with the directors previously in other jobs! He believes in the freedom and flexibility that working in an independent practice can bring and in the positive team environment and ethos that Bridge have created.

Karl Bovenizer MVB, CertVC, MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Veterinary Cardiologist

Karl graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland in 1991. He then moved to the Isle of Man where he eventually ended up owning and running his own mixed practice.

Although he did farm and equine work, it was the small animal side of the practice that appealed to him most and he took a keen interest in Cardiology. This led to him obtaining a certificate in cardiology and he provided a referral service to the island for many years until he came to the North East two years ago.

He still visits the island regularly, running cardiology clinics. Karl is very excited to join the team at Bridge Referrals as their cardiologist. He loves seeing cases where he can make a real difference to both the patients and their owners and providing a quality of life to those patients for an extended time. Karl has an interest in interventional cardiology and will bring this to Bridge Referrals working alongside Darren Long and Alison Kennair to increase our expertise in interventional radiology.

As a trained coach with an interest in language and communication, Karl is fully behind the ethos of Bridge Referrals and looks forward to being part of a team where care and communication within the team is paramount. This is the best way he feels that both clients and patients are given the highest quality of care by the highly motivated staff at Bridge Referrals.

Outside of work, Karl is a lover of theatre both to attend and perform in. With many years of amateur theatre behind him on the Isle of Man, he looks forward to finding a group in the North East. Like all vets, he has a number of rescue pets – 3 cats – but misses having a Manx cat since leaving the Island.

Olivia Grice PGCertSAAOphthal, MRCVS

Bridge Referrals

Veterinary Ophthalmologist

Olivia graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2017. She initially worked in a busy, 24/7 veterinary hospital in West Yorkshire. After 3 years, she decided to pursue a career in Ophthalmology and gained her Certificate in Small Animal Veterinary Ophthalmology, achieving a distinction.

Olivia has worked as a referral clinician in Scotland for 4 years prior to joining Bridge Referrals in 2024. She particularly enjoys ophthalmic medical work ups & feline ophthalmology.

Olivia has two cats, Kira & Pepper, who do over 20 tricks! She is looking forward to exploring the North East.

Join Team Bridge!

Be part of our dynamic new veterinary referral hospital in the North East.
Learn and thrive in a friendly, team orientated environment. Email us to find out more…

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