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Changes to the procurement of professional vet services

APHA is modernising its relationship with suppliers of veterinary services in order to ensure the delivery of animal health and welfare policies in a way which is demonstrably more effective and efficient in meeting the needs of the taxpayer, the farmed livestock industry and the veterinary profession.

Contracts have been awarded to supply a flexible package of veterinary services across seven regions covering England and Wales. From 1 April 2015 in Wales and 1 May 2015 in England APHA will manage TB testing and other veterinary services in England and Wales through suppliers, known as Delivery Partners, who have successfully tendered for this work in five geographical regions covering England and two regions covering Wales.

Contract awards for two regions covering Wales were announced on 27 January 2015, but a legal challenge meant that APHA was not in a position to award contracts for the five regions covering England until 16 February 2015. All of the contracts for England and Wales have now been awarded. The changes do not apply in Scotland.

All services currently delivered by OVs fall under the terms of the new contracts, including:

  • TB Testing in Cattle
  • TB Testing non-bovines and other Government paid work, notably brucellosis testing and anthrax investigations
  • Incident Response e.g. provision of vets to assist APHA in a disease outbreak.

By introducing modern well-structured regional contracts APHA is modernising its partnership with the veterinary profession whilst ensuring that the best quality of service is delivered; ensuring that on-farm testing is as effective as possible in detecting disease; and getting the best value for the taxpayer.

This is supported by a new approach for training and authorising individual vets to perform statutory work as Official Veterinarians (OVs). OV training will now be delivered by a commercial supplier who will provide a complete system of training, revalidation and administration. The cost of training will fall either to the individual or their employer in recognition of the business benefits accrued, but this will be offset by a considerable increase in the quality of service provided, which will be more accessible and consistent and, in-line with professional best practice, will allow revalidation. It will also improve the level of support provided to individual vets and their employers by adopting best practice for clinical governance and contribute to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

In addition, an invitation-to-tender has been published for a framework to supply a diverse range of veterinary services to any UK government organisation, including APHA. This is a separate tender to the managed service contract for veterinary services, which includes tuberculin testing by OVs.

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