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New Official Veterinarian qualification to be offered

Posted 2 July 2014

"This exciting development adds to our portfolio of 10 postgraduate awards for the veterinary profession that have been developed in cooperation with Improve International and the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies. "

Harper Adams University is to offer a new postgraduate Official Veterinarian qualification, in partnership with Improve International and the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ESVPS). 

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)  has awarded a contract for the training and revalidation of Official Veterinarians (OVs) operating in England, Scotland and Wales to UK veterinary training company Improve International, which already works in partnership with Harper Adams University to provide specialist qualifications for companion animal vets. 

Official Veterinarian (OVs) is the term used to describe a veterinary surgeon authorised to perform work on behalf of an EU member state. OVs perform a range of activities, funded both privately and by the taxpayer. Examples include testing for bovine tuberculosis, export certification and issuing passports under the Pet Travel Scheme.

In 2013, AHVLA announced a new approach to the training and authorisation of OVs to enhance veterinary standards and increase the quality and accessibility of training. Having won the contract for this training, Improve International is now preparing to launch the Official Controls Qualification (Veterinary), or OCQ(V).

The qualification will be delivered via blended learning methods and validated by Harper Adams, with the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ESVPS) as the assessment partner. 

Carwyn Ellis, Head of the Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences Department at Harper Adams University, said: "This exciting development adds to our portfolio of 10 postgraduate awards for the veterinary profession that have been developed in cooperation with Improve International and the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies. 

“Credit-rating this area of veterinary Continuing Professional Development will provide the opportunity for the profession to gain academic recognition for those seeking to undertake the valuable role of Official Veterinarian."

David Babington MRCVS, Managing Director of Improve International, said:  “We were delighted to be appointed by the AHVLA, with our partners ESVPS and Harper Adams University, to provide training and revalidation for OVs.  We are working on the development of a brand new registration database which will go live in August and on the creation of our blended learning training programme which we will roll out over the coming months.” 

Existing OVs will be granted ‘grandfather rights’, meaning that already experienced OVs will not need to undertake initial training. To qualify they must register on the new system between August 2014, when a new registration database is launched, and 31 March 2015.  A revalidation requirement is, however, being introduced for all OVs to ensure that quality standards are maintained.

AHVLA Veterinary Director Simon Hall said: “Vets will benefit from consistent, high quality and flexible training which will be created especially for the new qualifications. As the new approach to training will enable distance learning, the overall cost to vets should reduce as they will be able to access training on demand, instead of waiting for several months for a course to become available.”

For more information or to register an interest in Official Controls Qualification (Veterinary) training, visit www.improve-ov.com

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