UK agency consults on veterinary surveillance
A new system of detecting and understanding new and re-emerging animal related threats to provide better protection against disease outbreaks in England and Wales has been proposed by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).
AHVLA is seeking views from vets, farmers and others interested in preventing animal disease on options for improving the veterinary scanning surveillance system by making it more effective and efficient. The consultation is based on the recommendations of the Independent Surveillance Advisory Group which identified ways of improving the surveillance system.
The proposals set out in the consultation are designed to:
- Increase the geographical coverage of animal disease surveillance by offering an enhanced carcass collection service with a network of collection points to make the surveillance service more accessible to farmers. Currently only 50% of all livestock holders have access to a surveillance post mortem examination facility within an hour’s drive.
- Improve the use of the vast amount of expertise and sources of data about animal related threats within the private sector by better integration of information and intelligence from private veterinary practices, universities and commercial laboratories.
- Maintain the necessary expertise of AHVLA veterinary staff by reducing the number of surveillance sites to ensure remaining sites have access to a greater and wider range of cases.
- Make greater use of post mortems and testing by private vets and universities. AHVLA will continue to provide post-mortem examinations for cases where this is seen as the best approach to get a diagnosis. AHVLA will also continue to provide a full diagnostic service to assist private veterinary surgeons diagnose disease for their farmer clients. Post mortems carried out by AHVLA that are not directly linked to scanning surveillance – such as PMs for insurance claims – will be charged at full cost.
The proposals will help deliver an improved system that ensures AHVLA can continue to deliver robust animal disease surveillance that is sustainable in the long-term and more cost effective to the tax payer.
The consultation ends on 15 February 2013 and a summary of responses will be published on the AHVLA website.
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