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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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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”