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Role of local practitioners highlighted at BVA Welsh dinner

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THE importance of vets and veterinary practices to their local communities was highlighted by Llyr Gruffydd, shadow minister for sustainable communities in the Welsh Assembly, during a speech at the BVA's Welsh dinner last week. Local vets, he pointed out, were ‘important figures in the landscape’, while local practices were ‘as much a social hub in many respects as they are centres for animal health and welfare’ as well as making ‘a not insignificant contribution to their respective local economies’.

‘Where bad practice exists it must be stopped, but kneejerk reactions at a European level to remove the right of veterinary surgeons to dispense veterinary medicines could have disastrous consequences for the network of veterinary practices in the UK with no proven benefit for antimicrobial resistance’

Mr Gruffydd was responding to a speech given by Robin Hargreaves, the BVA President, in which he had raised concerns about the potential threat posed to a national network of local practices by the AHVLA's plans to tender for the services of Official Veterinarians (OVs) and by European suggestions that a veterinarian's right to prescribe antimicrobials should be ‘decoupled’ from the right to dispense them.

The dinner, which was held at City Hall, Cardiff, on July 1, was one of four that the BVA holds in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each year. The events aim to bring issues of relevance to the veterinary profession to the attention of local politicians and key stakeholders in the agrifood and animal welfare sectors.

In his speech, Mr Hargreaves said that local vets were best placed to help their clients manage disease on their farms. It was this principle that had underpinned the BVA's opposition to the AHVLA's decision to tender for OV services. ‘A system of competitive tendering in England and Wales to drive down …

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