Official Veterinarian Training, Appointment and Assurance Changes

UK - Private Veterinary Surgeons appointed as Official Veterinarians (OVs) are a vital part of the GB veterinary service undertaking statutory work on behalf of the Competent Authorities to safeguard the national interest. This role extends safeguarding the health and welfare of the animals under their care and meeting the needs of both their private and commercial clients.
calendar icon 11 October 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

All official veterinary functions are now audited by international organisations such as the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission. In order to withstand increasing scrutiny and safeguard our ability to trade we must meet both EU and International expectations for governance and audit.

The current appointments system reflects the historic concept of veterinary practice structure and of the veterinary workforce. Many practices still operate along conventional lines but there are now a variety of business models emerging which offer different delivery options to their clients. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) does not wish to impede such developments through an old fashioned system of appointments.

To this end Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) intends to modernise the system for authorising private vets to deliver statutory veterinary services within the next year. These changes will improve the level of support provided both to individual vets and their employers by adopting best practice for clinical governance and veterinary continuing professional development (CPD).

As a part of these changes the training, appointment and assurance of OVs will be updated to meet the current and foreseeable needs of vets, veterinary businesses, animal keepers and Governments in England, Wales, Scotland.

To achieve this AHVLA intends to appoint one organisation with expertise in veterinary education and training (including CPD) that will provide on-line modular training, assessment and administration of resulting qualifications.

The existing OV panels system will be phased out and replaced by a compendium of recognisable OV Qualifications. This compendium will comprise a pre-requisite 'Essential Skills' module in addition to a series of stand-alone OV work area specific, training modules. OVs will undertake those modules required to qualify them for OV appointments to their intended OV statutory work area.

In addition the changes will also introduce the requirement for all OVs to undergo a regular revalidation of their qualifications by updating their knowledge, reflecting on their performance and passing an assessment.

The changes will bring about a fundamental change to the current system in that OVs will be required to pay for both for their initial training and revalidation modules.

Whilst any person may undertake whichever modules they wish to pay for, there will be no obligation on an OV to carry out statutory work nor any guarantee of work being allocated to them. Only Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRVCS) will be authorised to carry out OV tasks if they hold the relevant qualification.

The new system will be self-regulating, backed by the RCVS Code. In addition, it is envisaged that AHVLA will continue to audit performance, of both the training provider and of individual OVs. AHVLA will continue to take appropriate action in the event of OV non-compliance or unsatisfactory performance - including if and where appropriate, the suspension of OV authorisation.

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