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Diary of a parliamentary intern
  1. VeHannah Jordan


The summer recess at the House of Lords is lengthy and allowed Hannah Jordan, parliamentary intern to Lord Trees, to return to practice to build her skills and confidence.

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One of my main concerns about taking a first job in a policy role was that my rudimentary clinical skills would deteriorate. To address this I have worked in various locum positions since graduating and now volunteer weekly as a vet at the PDSA, which I enjoy immensely. This role is doubly useful because it allows me to develop my skills (albeit more slowly than my peers – who seem to have settled comfortably into the profession) and it keeps me in touch with a group of vets and nurses on the front line at varying stages of their careers.

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One of the most challenging things for vets working in policy or related non-clinical roles is a lack of input from their clinical colleagues. This isn't a criticism – most practices are small businesses, staff work long hours and finding time to contribute or raise a pressing concern with the profession isn't a priority. Nonetheless, keeping in touch with issues that face the profession is a great reminder that you are not alone. Furthermore, making your views heard via the BVA, the RCVS, or contacting your local MP or Lord Trees, ensures that more accurate information is available for policymakers and politicians.

Hot on the heels of the potential changes to dog breeding licences in the Deregulation Bill (mentioned in my last diary, VR, August 2, 2014, vol 175, VR Careers, p ii) was a backbench debate on puppy farming, brought to the Commons by vet Marc Abraham's petition. The Deregulation Bill exists to simplify current legislation by removing redundant Acts once they have been replaced by new ones such as the behemoth cover-all Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The problem with removing prescriptive records from dog breeding licences is that we don't yet know what information will be required in the anticipated dog microchip database. As it stands, it removes another barrier to puppy farming. This was a widely condemned practice in the aforementioned debate, which called on the Government to review the current legislation and consider further steps to end the practice of unethical breeding of both puppies and kittens.

In other news, following a consultation some years ago, the European Commission recently released proposals to revise the law on veterinary medicines and medicated feedstuffs. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate is seeking opinion regarding the potential impact of these proposals and we will follow developments with both our veterinary practice and food security thinking caps on. Barriers to drug development, antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use have all been hot topics and are linked to these proposals. You can read more on the VMD website. Please get in touch and tell us what you think.

It is daunting to realise that a whole year has passed since I graduated and the recently televised ‘Young Vets’ series, filmed at my alma mater, only served to ram that home.

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