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RCVS accepts proposal for Certification Support Officers
The Certification Support Officer would work under the direction of the Official Veterinarian responsible for signing export certificates.
Role developed in response to Brexit and vet shortage concerns
The RCVS has accepted the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (AHPA) proposal for the new role of Certification Support Officer (CSO), who would assist Official Veterinarians with tasks related to certification.

In a statement, the RCVS said: ‘RCVS Standards Committee considered the proposal on Wednesday 26 September at its regularly-scheduled meeting. The Committee’s fundamental focus was on retaining the value and integrity of veterinary certification.

‘The Committee concluded that the proposals were acceptable in principle and that further discussions should now proceed with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) before the proposal is referred to RCVS Council for ultimate decision at its meeting in November 2018.’

The proposal was developed in response to concerns over the existing veterinary workforce shortage and Brexit. In October 2017, chief vet Nigel Gibbens predicted this could lead to a 325 per cent rise in the need for veterinary certifications.

Under the AHPA’s proposal, the Certification Support Officer would work under the direction of the Official Veterinarian responsible for signing export certificates. The role would not involve the certification of live animals or germinal products, and the act of certification would still be the responsibility of a veterinary surgeon.

The RCVS said that applicants for the role would need to undergo identity checks, six hours of accredited online distance learning, a period of supervision under a qualified colleague and refresher training and revalidation every two years.

Commenting, RCVS Registrar Eleanor Ferguson said: “APHA has asked us to consider amending the RCVS Ten Principles of Certification and Supporting Guidance on Certification in order to recognise the role of CSOs in official certification, which they hope to have approved in time for the UK’s exit from the EU in March 2019.

“Throughout discussions, upholding the integrity and value of the veterinary signature has been our core principle when considering how CSOs could work as part of a vet-led team and support administrative tasks related to certification.”

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.