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New Scottish Veterinary Service unveiled

The Scottish Government said the new service “will meet needs across the public and private sector for land and marine based animal health and provide crucial resilience to the sectors”

Field animal health and welfare functions currently delivered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Scotland are to be replaced by a new Scottish Veterinary Service (SVS).

Speaking at the NFUS AGM, the Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon gave the green light to the new service, which will be developed within the lifetime of the current Parliament.

The Scottish Government said the new service “will meet needs across the public and private sector for land and marine based animal health and provide crucial resilience to the sectors”.

A Programme Board made up of representatives of the organisations involved in the delivery and enforcement of animal health and welfare and food safety will meet for the first time at the end of February. The Board will be responsible for assessing what functions the SVS should have, and what format they may take.

Gougeon said: “For a range of reasons – Brexit among them – we do not have enough of the right people with the right qualifications. The SVS will help us create opportunities for more young people in Scotland to want to pursue rewarding careers in veterinary, animal health and food safety services.

“This process will present some exciting opportunities to focus on what is best for Scotland. There will also be challenges along the way, but I am confident that a model designed specifically around the needs of Scotland will deliver efficiencies and an enhanced service. We will, of course, continue to work collaboratively with APHA as well as the other administrations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of the overall control of diseases within the UK.

She added: “Creating a Scottish Veterinary Service is a Programme for Government commitment that will help the industry to flourish. Industry must be involved in setting this up, to ensure this happens, a stakeholder working group will feed directly into the Programme Board.”

Deputy chief veterinary officer Jesus Gallego added: “The SVS will provide an opportunity to introduce efficiencies, better resilience, and strengthen delivery and enforcement across a range of animal health and welfare tasks. It will also provide better opportunities for staff training and retention, building on the vast expertise and services we offer across Scotland.”

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