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‘OUR members are feeling vulnerable and anxious. There is a real risk that a tendering process, no matter how well it is designed, will squeeze local practices out and undermine the network of veterinary practitioners across the UK that provide vital services to the rural economy and a first line of defence in the face of disease.’
So said Peter Harlech Jones, the outgoing BVA President, discussing the AHVLA's plans to procure Official Veterinarian services by tender. He made his comments in an end-of-year speech highlighting issues of concern to the Association during its inaugural Members’ Day on September 26. The event, held at the City Hall, Cardiff, also featured the Association's annual general meeting and awards ceremony. Among those attending was Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State at Defra, who also addressed the meeting (see p 304).
Mr Jones said that the BVA appreciated the budget constraints on government, and also that policymakers had already made concessions to the BVA's demands that any procurement exercise recognised the importance of local practices. However, concerns remained and the BVA was working with the AHVLA and Defra ‘to do all it can to get the best possible result’. He told Mr Paterson that, ‘despite assurances given by the AHVLA, BVA and its members are very sceptical about the outcome and there is a real risk that rural veterinary practices and the services they provide in ensuring animal health and welfare are going to be seriously compromised’.
During his speech, Mr Jones took the opportunity to highlight a number of other areas in which …
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