The plans, announced by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will involve OVs carrying out critical animal health and welfare, and public health work in areas such as tuberculin testing, surveillance and exports will be asked to re-validate their qualifications every four years, and be offered a six-month window in which to complete this process.
Under the current regime, OVs holding different qualifications to renew these at anything between two-yearly and five-yearly intervals, and only offers a short window of time, as little as two months, for re-validation to be completed.
According to APHA, the two-month re-validation window was too restrictive, especially if it fell in a busy period such as lambing time or if several veterinarians in the same practice needed to take the qualification at the same time.
The news was welcomed by British Veterinary Association president Simon Doherty.
“We’re delighted that APHA has taken on board our members’ concerns with the current system and proposed improvements that should make the process much more fair and consistent while continuing to maintain high standards.
“This is a really crucial time for ensuring that the workforce retains skilled professionals and is at full strength to keep animal welfare standards high, protect public health and meet demand for export certification after Brexit.
“This piece of work is a shining example of what can be achieved when vets pull together to air concerns and make the case for change. We will continue to work closely with APHA to explore and put in place ways of making the re-validation process as fit for purpose as possible for this critical section of the workforce.”