Offical Veterinarian Training, Appointment and Assurance Changes

Closed 31 Oct 2013

Opened 26 Sep 2013

Results updated 4 Dec 2013

Thanks to all who took the time to add to our knowledge by completing the Training, Authorisation and Assurance consultation. The outcome was very informative and the project team has taken on board some of the key points raised and has made changes to some aspects of the concept and design.

AHVLA Communications will be issuing an article in the OV Newsletter later this month which gives further detailed analysis and answers to the main questions that were raised by you in the consultation.

A synopsis of the results is available below 





Changes to the Official Veterinarian Training, Appointments and Assurance

Private Veterinary Surgeons appointed as Official Veterinarians (OVs) are a vital part of the GB veterinary service undertaking statutory work on behalf of the Competent Authorities to safeguard the national interest.  This role extends safeguarding the health and welfare of the animals under their care and  meeting the needs of both their private and commercial clients. 

All official veterinary functions are now audited by international organisations such as the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission.  In order to withstand increasing scrutiny and safeguard our ability to trade we must meet both EU and International expectations for governance and audit.

The current appointments system reflects the historic concept of veterinary practice structure and of the veterinary workforce.  Many practices still operate along conventional lines but there are now a variety of business models emerging which offer different delivery options to their clients. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) does not wish to impede such developments through an old fashioned system of appointments.

To this end Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) intends to modernise the system for authorising private vets to deliver statutory veterinary services within the next year.  These changes will improve the level of support provided both to individual vets and their employers by adopting best practice for clinical governance and veterinary continuing professional development (CPD).

As a part of these changes the training, appointment and assurance of OVs will be updated to meet the current and foreseeable needs of vets, veterinary businesses, animal keepers and Governments in England, Wales, Scotland.

To achieve this AHVLA intends to appoint one organisation with expertise in veterinary education and training (including CPD) that will provide on-line modular training, assessment and administration of resulting qualifications.

The existing OV panels system will be phased out and replaced by a compendium of recognisable OV Qualifications. This compendium will comprise a pre-requisite 'Essential Skills'  module in addition to a series of stand-alone OV work area specific, training modules.  OVs will undertake those modules required to qualify them for OV appointments to their intended OV statutory work area.

In addition the changes will also introduce the requirement for all OVs to undergo a regular revalidation of their qualifications by updating their knowledge, reflecting on their performance and passing an assessment.

The changes will bring about a fundamental change to the current system in that OVs will be required to pay for both for their initial training and revalidation modules.

 Whilst any person may undertake whichever modules they wish to pay for, there will be no obligation on an OV to carry out statutory work nor any guarantee of work being allocated to them. Only Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRVCS) will be authorised to carry out OV tasks if they hold the relevant qualification.

The new system will be self-regulating, backed by the RCVS Code. In addition, it is envisaged that AHVLA  will continue to audit performance, of both the training provider and of individual OVs.  AHVLA will continue to take appropriate action  in the event of OV non-compliance or unsatisfactory performance - including if and where appropriate, the suspension of OV authorisation.

This consultation has been extended until the end of the month to provide respondents more time to consider this important proposed change to the OV training regime.

Why your views matter

 The proposed changes outlined above are really fundamental changes to the way the Government will interact with Vets, Veterinary Practices and other Veterinary related businesses in the future. OVs remain a very important part of the Animal Health team.

We are consulting to expose our proposals to scrutiny from a wide variety of interested parties and to better understand the possible implications of these proposals. Anyone is welcome to respond to this consultation.



What happens next

The results will be analysed. Based on that analysis the Government will come to a view as to the validity of the changes and where and whether there are any changes or amendments needed to the tender document to ensure that prospective bidders fully understand the requirements of the tender.


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