Charities to work together on a range of new initiatives
Leading animal charities Blue Cross and RSPCA have announced that they will be working more closely together in order to help more pets in need across England and Wales.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the resources and finances of thousands of charities and organisations across the country.
The two charities have agreed to collaborate more moving forward to help save funds, share resources and have as big of an impact as possible on animals.
Areas that RSPCA and Blue Cross are aiming to partner in include purchasing and supplies – where savings can be made and supply chains secured – as well as in transport of animals and in behaviour services. This, according to the charities, will help keep funds in the animal sector, as well as reducing impact on the environment.
Blue Cross CEO, Chris Burghes, said: “We are pleased to share the news of our intentions of several areas to partner on with the RSPCA. It feels that we are on the cusp of something truly exciting to reach more pets, and the people they share their lives with.
“There is much natural alignment in both our strategies and in areas of the country where we both have a presence, there is opportunity for strong working collaboration for an even greater impact for animals and communities.”
RSPCA CEO, Chris Sherwood, said: “The RSPCA is excited to be exploring practical ways we can work with Blue Cross to help us work smarter and better at this difficult time for charities and for animals.
“We are keen to build strong relationships with charities across the sector so we can all collectively focus our efforts on helping the animals which need us. Strengthening partnerships is central to our new strategy.”
Images (c) Blue Cross.
Updates to Code of Professional Conduct provide clarity for vets
New guidance to help veterinary surgeons working with musculoskeletal therapists (MSKs) has been published by the RCVS' Standards Committee.
According to the RCVS, MSKs, such as animal physiotherapists, currently have their work underpinned by an Exemption Order to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 which allows them to treat an animal under the direction of a veterinary surgeon who has first examined that animal.
The College has acknowledged that there has been some confusion as to whether MSKs need a veterinary referral for maintenance work, such as massage, in a healthy animal.
The new guidance is found in chapter 19 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct. It outlines the current rules for musculoskeletal treatment of illness, disease or pathology and states that healthy animals do not require a veterinary referral for maintenance care.
In the guidance, the RCVS states that veterinary surgeons should be confident that the musculoskeletal therapist is appropriately qualified. It also notes that any animal, including a healthy one, should be registered with a veterinary surgeon and referred to them at the first sign of any potential underlying health problems.
In March 2019, the RCVS acknowledged that the existing exemption order was not suitable for underpinning the work of MSKs in it's Review of Minor Procedures Regime. To remedy this, the College recommended a reform of Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, alongside regulation through Associate status for MSKs. This would allow the college to set and uphold standards for MSKs in a similar way to veterinary nurses.
The recent Legislation Working Party Report, which is currently open for consultation, includes proposals which build on this recommendation.
Central Qualifications (CQ) are celebrating the first veterinary nurse apprentice to pass CQ's End Point Assessment (EPA).
CQ was the first End Point Assessment Organisation to offer COVID-secure assessment centres, and has been committed to serving the Veterinary Nursing Apprenticeship Standard despite the global challenges of the pandemic.
The successful student veterinary nurse, who trained at Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing and works at Lynwood Vets in Bournemouth, was successful on her first attempt of the EPA which comprises a Professional Discussion and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
The End Point Assessment is the final aspect of the Veterinary Nursing Apprenticeship. Upon completion, successful apprentices are able to gain their Veterinary Nursing Diploma and proceed to register with the RCVS as an RVN.
“We are really proud to be the first-ever school of veterinary nursing to have put forward the first student veterinary nurse through their apprenticeship end point assessment with Central Qualifications,” said Lisa Bugh, Joint Head of School at Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing. “The student was successful on their first attempt.”
CQ, an Ofqual approved awarding body and End Point Assessment Organisation for veterinary and other animal-related establishments, congratulated the student on their achievement.
“All of the EPA Team at CQ are thrilled to have the first apprentice complete their EPA with us,” said William Barrow, Operations Manager at CQ. “We’d like to congratulate the learner on her achievement and thank everyone who’s worked tirelessly to deliver End Point Assessments in a covid secure manner.”
Revised second edition provides the most up-to-date guidance.
The BSAVA has announced the publication of an updated edition of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Endoscopy and Endosurgery, accompanied by a collection of videos demonstrating the techniques.
Edited by Philip Lhermette, David Sobel and Elise Robertson, this second edition has been revised to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date guidance for veterinary surgeons who wish to practice minimally invasive endoscopic techniques.
Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional veterinary officer at Hills Pet Nutrition in the USA and a past president of the WSAVA said: “I hope you are as excited to turn the pages as I was when I received the news that the new Manual was on its way. This book represents the pinnacle of endoscopic surgery.”
According to the BSAVA, this new edition reflects the many endoscopy and endosurgery techniques that have changed since the first edition was published in 2008. Topics covered include routine procedures as well as more advanced techniques for more experienced practitioners.
The Manual is also accompanied by a series of 40 videos, accessible via the BSAVA Library, to help readers understand how to perform a particular procedure.
New topics include:
- chapters on oesophagoscopy, interventional endoscopy, and evolving trends and future developments
- more detailed information on minimally invasive techniques in cats
- significantly expanded chapter on laparoscopy covering techniques ranging from liver biopsy and ovariectomy to cholecystectomy and adrenalectomy.
For more information about the manual visit the BSAVA website.
The case involved two marketing claims made for Tulaven® 25.
The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has ruled that CEVA breached the NOAH Code of Practice for the Promotion of Animal Medicines.
NOAH's Code of Practice Committee, chaired by Guy Tritton, met on Monday (23 October) to discuss the case, brought about by Zoetis UK Ltd. The case involved two claims made in marketing materials for Tulaven® 25, emailed to a number of UK pig practices.
The claims were as follows:
1. A promotional claim that ‘99 per cent users prefer Ceva Layer Anti-shatter (CLAS) vials to glass’.
2. A promotional claim that the product is ‘eco-friendly and 33 per cent less impact on the environment’.
A NOAH press release reads: 'For both items, the Committee were unanimous in finding Ceva to be in breach of Clause 5.1 of the Code which requires companies to provide information referred to in the promotion within five working days, where it is requested.
'For both items, Ceva were not found to be in breach of clauses 4.3 (vii) and 4.4 (iii), a failure to substantiate the claims in their promotion.'
NOAH continued: 'For the second item of complaint, Ceva were also not found to be in breach of clause 3.1, an alleged breach of the requirement for promotions to not discredit or reduce confidence in the animal health industry.
'As a result, the Chair, Guy Tritton required Ceva Animal Health Ltd to provide a formal Undertaking to abide by the timescale defined in Clause 5.1 of the Code of Practice.'
Full details about the case are available at noah.co.uk
The BSAVA has announced that its popular Regions Now programme is to continue in its virtual format.
Regions Now was introduced in September 2020 to enable the continued provision of CPD during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online sessions offer high-quality learning in 12 areas of the UK but can be accessed from any location.
Chair of Regions Now, Beckie Smith, said: “It’s obviously disappointing to be unable to go ahead with our plans to develop Regions Now from virtual to face-to-face meetings. Our virtual Regions Now programme with its ‘community format’ has been very well received so far and we plan to build on this beyond March.”
She added: “Our regional volunteers are all committed to continue to deliver relevant, engaging, educational and practical content throughout the regions, despite the ongoing constraints of the pandemic.”
Both BSAVA members and non-members can join the sessions, which begin with an hour of pre-recorded content available up to a week before the main live session.
The live events are followed by a question and answer session with the main speaker, after which participants will be able to offer their observations and share their experiences in an online discussion forum.
BSAVA members may attend the sessions free of charge while the fee for non-members is £50.00. Priority booking will be offered to the particular region hosting the event, although the events are open to members around the country. For more information and to book a place, visit bsava.com
BVA raises concerns over use of animals for entertainment
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has expressed serious concerns over the use of animals in the television programme 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!', which entered its twentieth series earlier this month.
Since the show began in 2002, 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!' has received criticism from animal welfare organisations and the general public regarding its mistreatment of animals, particularly during the 'Bushtucker trial' segments of the programme.
The BVA published an open letter to the show's producers in 2019, citing examples from the programme where animals were in clear distress and compliance with the 2006 Animal Welfare Act ‘duty of care’ did not appear to have been met.
Although COVID-19 restrictions have led to a change in location for the latest season of 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!', many organisations were disappointed to learn that the show's producers did not take this opportunity to change the way animals are used in the programme.
As a response, the BVA – along with the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and The British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) – has renewed its call to producers to review the programmes treatment of animals, using the hashtag #GetAnimalsOutofThere.
BVA senior vice president Daniella Dos Santos said: “‘I’m a Celebrity’ has had a long and chequered track record of animals showing clear signs of distress while used in tasks and as an exotics vet, I remain very concerned about the welfare of those used in this year’s series.
“The welfare of animals used on television or other media outlets should be of the highest standard as this can influence public behaviours and views on appropriate treatment of animals.”
Program aims to help vets and VNs manage their CPD
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has announced that it will be holding two online workshops focusing on its 1CPD platform and how to use it effectively.
The 1CPD platform was launched at the start of this year, with the aim of providing a simple method for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to plan, record and reflect on their continuing professional development (CPD).
The college has organised two workshops for those who have yet to sign up to use the platform, as well as those who may still have questions regarding it's use. Both workshops will take place on Wednesday 9 December 2020.
The first online workshop is at 12pm and is for veterinary professionals that are new to the platform. It will give an overview on how 1CPD works and the benefits it can provide when organising and recording CPD.
The second workshop is at 7pm and is for those who have some experience using 1CPD but may still have questions or issues regarding certain features.
Both workshops will last for approximately one hour and recorded versions will be made available for those who cannot attend on the day.
Susan Paterson said: “The aim of these workshops is to guide and reassure those who are hesitant that the 1CPD system is very simple and easy-to-use with lots of useful features. In the long run, it will save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to recording your CPD because it’s there on your phone or tablet, ready to update as-and-when you need to.
“As we approach the end of 2020, many vets and VNs will be starting to think about their CPD for next year. Now is the perfect time to get up to speed with 1CPD to help support the process.”
To sign up for one of the workshops please visit the RCVS website.
An online series to help improve the wellbeing of veterinary professionals and teams as the winter approaches has been announced.
The events will be held virtually by Boehringer Animal Health in Collaboration with Wellvet, featuring discussions on combatting seasonal affective disorder, boosting team morale and festive garland making.
Occupational therapist Professor Elinor O’ Connor will deliver a talk entitled ‘Recovering from the pressures of work', while veterinary coach and mentor Jenny Guyat will speak about ‘Reflections for growth’.
The 30-minute presentations kick start tonight at 8 pm (19 November) with a Facebook Live on combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder in lockdown. The full programme is as follows:
- 8 pm on Thursday 19 November – Combating SAD-ness (in lockdown)! – Dr Claire Gillvray
- 8 pm on Thursday 26 November – Team morale boosting in tough times – Dan Tipney
- 8 pm on Thursday 3 December – Virtual festive garland making – Wellness Vets
- 8 pm on Thursday 17 December – Recovering from the pressures of work – Prof Elinor O’Connor
- 8 pm on Thursday 7 January – Reflections for growth – Jenny Guyat.
Liz Barton, co-founder of WellVet, comments: “WellVet exists to provide practical tools and a supportive network to help positively influence and improve wellbeing and boost morale. This programme of events is designed to answer specific challenges we’re experiencing – now more than ever in veterinary teams, and to bring us together for a bit of festive cheer.”
Emma McAnally, territory manager at Boehringer Ingelheim, adds: “During these challenging times, work and life, in general, can often seem overwhelming. We are delighted to support the WellVet Winter Wellbeing series to help improve wellbeing both in the work and home environments.”
For more information about the events and details of how to join, visit wellvet.co.uk
Results to help inform future policy on graduate support
A new survey has been launched which aims to assess the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on recent graduates in the veterinary field.
The survey – developed by the RCVS and the Veterinary Schools Council (VSC) – has been sent to 984 veterinary surgeons who graduated from one of the UK's eight veterinary schools in 2020.
RCVS director of education Dr Linda Prescott-Clements said: “We know that the coronavirus pandemic has had a disruptive impact on the final stages of education for the 2020 cohort, in terms of clinical placements for extra-mural studies as well as teaching.
“This survey aims to gauge whether this has, in turn, had a deleterious impact on their confidence with both clinical and non-clinical skills as well as their resilience, for example, in asking for help and support from colleagues, managing their time effectively, and managing complex and stressful situations.”
The survey will also gauge the pandemic's impact on employment for veterinary graduates, as some anecdotal reports have suggested a change to employment prospects across 2020.
“We are mindful that the pandemic is having a significant impact on all students and we are keen to understand how best we can support them moving forward,” Dr Prescott-Clements continued.
“I would strongly encourage those graduates who have received the survey, which should only take around ten minutes to complete, to take part, because the results will help the RCVS and the VSC inform future policies on how we can better support veterinary graduates in 2021 and subsequent years.”
The deadline for completing the survey is Wednesday 16 December 2020. All responses will remain anonymous.
Any graduates who have not received the survey or require further information can contact the RCVS Education Department at email@example.com
Fabian Rivers recognised for commitment to communicating exotic pet's needs
Small animal and exotics veterinary surgeon Dr Fabian Rivers, who stars in the CBBC programme The Pets Factor has received the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award.
Dr Rivers was selected from three finalists in a virtual ceremony held on 13 November. He won first place in the award, which recognises young veterinary professionals who go above and beyond what is expected of them early on in their career or who make an outstanding contribution to the veterinary profession.
A recent graduate member of BVA Council, Dr Rivers has a history of working with exotic species – from working with African penguins in Cape Town to presenting case studies on tortoises whilst at university.
The judges credited Dr Rivers for his passionate approach to educating the public on the complex needs of non-traditional companion animals.
Commenting on his award, Dr Rivers paid tribute to all the other nominees, adding: “They are really important to where the veterinary profession goes in the future and I’m indebted to them for what they’ve been able to do in a short period of time. They are an inspiration to me.
He continued: “Thank you to the judges. It’s really important that we start to celebrate each other and celebrate our wins. This is something I’ve tried hard to do this year.
“Thank you to everyone who’s supported me and been part of this journey. It means a huge amount.”
BVA president James Russell said: “Fabian has made a significant impact within the profession and beyond. The broad reach of his work – on issues that affect our profession and animal welfare – has made a national impact and promoted our profession to new audiences of all ages.
“During a particularly challenging year for all of us, Fabian has shown immense leadership and he is a truly deserving winner of the BVA Young Vet Award 2020.”
Image (c) BVA.
MSD Animal Health has announced that it is changing the way it distributes its products in the United Kingdom, opting for more direct customer engagement.
Up to now, MSD’s animal medicines have been supplied to customers through a wholesaler network. Under the new model, MSD will collaborate with MWI Animal Health and National Veterinary Services Limited (NVS) to provide ordering and distributions services for its ruminant and companion animal products.
The change, which comes into force on 1 January 2021, will see MSD Animal Health invoice its customers directly. Pig products will join Aquaculture and Poultry products to be supplied directly to customers by MSD Animal Health.
In a press release, MSD said the move is being made to 'enhance the customer experience and more quickly adapt to changes in the market to better serve customers'.
Guideline details measures to consider during national lockdown
The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has updated its 'COVID-19 Animal Health Industry Guideline' following the latest national and local restrictions introduced throughout the UK.
The guideline has been developed to support animal health companies and their staff in following best practice guidance when planning and restructuring working activities around new and ongoing government restrictions.
It is reviewed every three months and aims to reassure the wider animal health community that NOAH member companies are following necessary precautions.
The most recent guideline details the measures which should be considered when developing company-specific practices during the current COVID-19 restrictions, including the national lockdown in place in England until 2 December. It includes guidance on social distancing, travel, PPE, meetings and field visits and biosecurity.
NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said: “NOAH member companies, are following Government guidance, have adapted how they operate and have their own company-specific policies in place.
“This guideline reflects the areas they will have considered in drawing up their policies, and lets their staff and customers know that their safety and protection is paramount.
“We will keep our guideline under review, to reflect the ever-changing situation we find ourselves in.”
To read the newly updated 'COVID-19 Animal Health Industry Guideline' please visit the NOAH website.
Image (c) NOAH.
A new, independent survey commissioned by regulatory body AMTRA on the understanding of Registered Animal Medicines Advisors (RAMAs) has revealed a high level of engagement and understanding among industry professionals and the farming community.
AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority) is a not-for-profit organisation appointed by the Secretary of State to keep its register of RAMAs (Registered Animal Medicines Advisors), also known as SQPs. Responsible for some 7,000 RAMAs, AMTRA's obligations include an effective disciplinary process to take action in the case of anyone not following the SQP Code of Practice, together with a mandatory system of CPD.
Respondents to the anonymous telephone survey included professional industry bodies, animal health charities, medicines manufacturers, farmers and influencers within the farming community. Of these, 100 per cent said they recognised the importance of AMTRA RAMAs in providing advice to farmers, while 72 per cent said they were aware of the available training and support.
Respondents to the survey were asked a series of 12 questions and were invited to comment on both their personal and professional engagement with AMTRA and RAMAs. The results show a clear understanding of the importance of AMTRA RAMAs in medicines distribution, including wormers and vaccines, and providing advice on resistance.
“Principally, the aim of this survey was for us to get a snapshot and evaluate the perceived performance of both AMTRA and our RAMAs within our industry, importantly including the views of farmers,” explained Stephen Dawson, AMTRA secretary-general.
“We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received, but this exercise has also been important in identifying areas which can be improved, or indeed where messages need to be amplified to create and raise awareness.”
He added: “While there is a good understanding of the training and CPD undertaken by RAMAs, we see the opportunities to work with industry partners, for example, to raise awareness amongst the wider farming community, about their important role in the distribution of animal medicines.
“The challenge is to achieve greater awareness amongst industry, to ultimately encourage greater farmer adoption of this valuable RAMA resource.”
A former academic leader at Harper Adams University has been honoured for his "outstanding contribution" to animal medicines training.
Carwyn Ellis scooped the SQP Award for Outstanding Contribution in recognition of his service to the Animal Medicines Training and Regulatory Authority (AMTRA).
The previous head of animal welfare, production and veterinary science retired from his post last year but continues to visit Harper Adams as a lecturer.
AMTRA chair Phil Sketchley said: “It gives me great pleasure to present the award this year for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry...[Carwyn] has made many years contribution and service to the AMTRA council as an observer, and has undoubtedly been pivotal in making the SQP and RAMA sector work and has had the respect from all involved in this sector and indeed the government bodies that control us.
“With over 30 years of contributions to the sector, Carwyn helped train the very first candidates in 1985/86 to gain their Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) status and has importantly since then helped manage the transition to a prescription-only based model in 2005 after the launch of the then-new VMR."
Phil continued: “He’s made a major influence and contribution to our sector and brought about the introduction of an approved CPD programme and also brought in the modular system of examinations which supported the introductions of the companion animal qualification, the vet nurse qualification and more recently moving us to level 5 for farm RAMAs.”
The SQP Award for Outstanding Contribution recognises individuals within the animal health sector who, during a sustained career, have made a significant contribution to the industry. Recipients of the award have also been an inspirational figure to others by demonstrating best practice and professional development.
Findings reveal high levels of dissatisfaction caused by low pay and inter-practice relationships.
Fewer than half of veterinary receptionists are satisfied with their relationship with their practice manager, according to a new survey, which also reveals high levels of dissatisfaction with salary levels.
The survey, based on responses from 812 veterinary receptionists, provides an insight into inter-practice relationships at a time when the profession has been facing significant challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Conducted during August and September 2020 by the British Veterinary Receptionists Association (BVRA), the survey found that just 46 per cent of participants are satisfied with their relationship with their practice manager.
Only a quarter (26%) of respondents from corporate groups said they were satisfied with their working relationship with head office. Relationships were further strained during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 71 per cent of those furloughed saying communication with their practice manager had been average or poor.
Veterinary Management Group (VMG) president Rich Casey said: “This report is sobering reading as it concerns the careers and wellbeing of a group of people who are essential to the success of any veterinary practice. The VMG is particularly interested in this research as a significant proportion of our members are practice managers and likely to be line managers of the reception team."
Sixty-four per cent of respondents to the survey felt they were not being paid a fair wage for the responsibilities they carry, including ensuring practice protocols, handling veterinary medicines, and promoting healthcare plans.
Discontent with salary levels was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of respondents (49%) were furloughed and 91 per cent of these said they received no top-up pay from their practice in addition to the government’s 80 per cent contribution.
The survey also revealed a lack of access to CPD. Around 56 per cent of respondents wanted to update and increase their knowledge, but the same percentage claimed a lack of time was a barrier.
In light of these findings, the VMG and the BRVA have teamed up to host a free webinar to discuss the issues raised by the survey and potential solutions. The webinar, entitled Tackling Receptionist Morale Together, will take place from 2.00 pm-4.00 pm on Wednesday 25 November.
BVRA founder Brian Faulkner commented: “BVRA is always working to improve the recognition, respect and job satisfaction of its members. “We are delighted to team up with VMG as another way of doing this, alongside developing the status of a Registered Veterinary Receptionist.”