AMTRA has urged more farm SQPs to complete new mandatory training before the closing date of January 21 2018, writes Carolyn Henderson.
“We have 55% engaged so far, but it needs to be 100%,” said Stephen Dawson, AMTRA’s secretary general. “Anyone who doesn’t complete it by the closing date will lose the farm animal part of their qualification immediately – so don’t risk anything going wrong at the last minute.”
The new SQP Code of Practice, which came into force in April, requires SQPs to prescribe sheep and cattle anthelmintics in line with SCOPS and COWS recommendations.
Mr Dawson said that the new AMTRA training manual for farm SQPs embedded most of the COWS and SCOPS material. From an academic perspective, the new qualification is a third bigger, which he said would give new SQPs more knowledge and confidence.
“The new AMTRA exam is an improvement on the old version because it focuses more on the practical side of prescribing,” said Sally Harmer, an independent SQP and consultant.
“The new case study section makes students think about the disease risk and the correct product choices to tackle any issues identified. All training, including CPD, needs to be about disease and the different solutions available to SQPs.
“A key focus of both the new exam and the CPD training is on testing – testing to see if the animals need treating and testing to see if the wormers used are actually working. I just wish that the various government groups would support this via SQPs. Imagine the difference this could make to the issue of anthelmintic resistance in the UK.”