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AHVLA sets out a new structure for scanning surveillance

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VETERINARY scanning surveillance in England and Wales is to be increasingly reliant on the private sector under plans revealed by the AHVLA last week.

The AHVLA describes its new surveillance model as ‘an improved approach to scanning surveillance’ and says it follows the recommendations made by the independent Surveillance Advisory Group, which reported in 2012 (VR, April 21, 2012, vol 170, pp 402-403). The AHVLA consulted late last year on its proposals (VR, December 22/29, 2012, vol 171, pp 634-635).

The new system, the AHVLA says, will be introduced ‘to improve both the geographical and species-specific coverage of disease surveillance across England and Wales by making better use of the expertise and resources of private vets, universities and the livestock industry’. The approach described, which is to be implemented progressively during 2014, proposes a change in emphasis from heavy reliance on postmortem examinations in government-run facilities to a more systematic engagement with stakeholders, greater collaboration with industry and provision of more resources from non-government sources.

Under the restructured model, the number of AHVLA postmortem investigation centres will be reduced from 14 to six, with the centres at Bury St Edmunds, Carmarthen, Penrith, Shrewsbury, Starcross and Thirsk continuing to provide postmortem investigation services. The centre at Winchester will continue to offer postmortem investigation services until 2015 by which time the AHVLA expects to have identified an alternative provider of pathology services.

‘Surveillance at seven other existing AHVLA sites will cease, but access to postmortem investigation services will be enhanced by greater involvement of other suppliers of animal pathology,’ the AHVLA says. It intends to continue to use the specialist poultry skills and facilities at AHVLA Lasswade in Scotland.

A carcase collection service is to be put in place for a period of three years while the network of non-AHVLA …

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