Farming: BVA chief’s alert on new Scottish Veterinary Service

With the monitoring and control of animal diseases set to be brought within the scope of the new Scottish Veterinary Service, it will be essential to ensure that system compatibility and collaboration is maintained with the rest of the UK and beyond.

That was the message given by British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Dr Justine Shotton when she addressed the organisation’s annual dinner at the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.

“I don’t have to tell any of you around the room tonight that diseases and animal welfare problems don’t respect borders,” she cautioned.

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“It will therefore be critical that the new service has systems that collaborate and liaise with the rest of the UK, and beyond, on disease surveillance, data collection, and information sharing.”

She added that the BVA was engaging closely to ensure that veterinary expertise was at the heart of the new proposals.

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Dr Shotton also praised the work of Scottish vets keeping animals healthy, protecting public health and keeping the food chain moving against the backdrop of Covid, Brexit and the huge surge in pet ownership.

“But we also need to acknowledge that this has come at a significant – and ultimately unsustainable – cost to the profession’s capacity and wellbeing.”

Highlighting the importance of mental health she said that if the profession was to be able to face the continued unforeseen challenges ahead, action was needed now to improve recruitment, retention and rates of return to veterinary work to ensure that all existing vets felt supported, safe and rewarded in their careers.

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