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BVA urges government to modernise disease surveillance

Leading vets have urged the government to work “collaboratively” with them to bring current disease surveillance networks up to date.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has set out a vision for animal health and disease monitoring in the UK, exploring how UK governments, the veterinary profession and key stakeholders can work together in order to update and enhance surveillance networks.

The group collected evidence from 655 vets to explore how the profession values and engages with surveillance.

John Fishwick, president of the BVA said: “Until now, BVA has always championed a robust surveillance network, but we’ve never set out our vision for how surveillance in the UK should look.

“Our position paper aims to do just that, recognising the value that all members of the veterinary profession add by contributing to animal health and disease monitoring in all its forms, be that production animal, equine, wildlife or companion animal.”

The BVA has repeatedly voiced its member’s opposition to further reduction in the surveillance network in the UK. The group’s plan aims to:

  • Maintain the current level of Government resource spent on the scanning surveillance networks
  • Adopt new approaches to data collection and feedback
  • Optimise appropriate skills and expertise
  • Rethink traditional approaches to funding and coordination
  • Articulate the value of surveillance reporting to the veterinary profession and other stakeholders through education to increase awareness and participation
  • Working collaboratively with stakeholders to explore innovative communication strategies

Kate Sharpe, chair of the BVA surveillance group added: “The profession’s commitment to the role of the veterinary surgeon as a public guardian across all species enables the continual monitoring for endemic disease and by recognising the unusual, helps to identify new and emerging threats that need further investigation.”

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