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This year's BVA Congress again gave delegates a chance to put questions about topical issues to a panel made up of the UK's chief veterinary officers. Topics raised during the discussion on September 24 included the AHVLA's restructuring of its laboratories service, antimicrobial resistance and permanent identification of dogs. Kathryn Clark reports
FOLLOWING introductory remarks by each of the chief veterinary officers (CVOs), which focused on legislative developments in Europe and how they might impact on the UK (see box on p 380), delegates asked questions on a range of issues.
Ifan Lloyd, the representative for Wales on the BVA Council, asked if BVA members should be encouraged or worried by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency's (AHVLA's) plans to withdraw laboratory services from some of its regional laboratories.
Nigel Gibbens, CVO for the UK, said that Defra had to be ‘smarter’ about how it delivered surveillance. If vets were concerned about getting good surveillance, he did not believe they needed to be worried about the change to the laboratory services, but they did need to engage with the AHVLA as it discussed what might be done about surveillance. While regional laboratories might not necessarily close, the reality was that the AHVLA's budget was being reduced year-on-year throughout the whole of the current comprehensive spending review period. The withdrawal of laboratory services was ‘the first painful step in a painful process’, he said.
Christianne Glossop, CVO for Wales, commented that the changes were not a simple process and were ongoing. ‘We can either sit and be worried, or we could work together to try to do something about it – and that's what we're trying to do in Wales.’
From the floor, Keith Meldrum, a former CVO, drew attention to changes in the way the AHVLA intended to procure …