Welcome to AGV
The Association of Government Veterinarians (AGV) is a Specialist Division of the British Veterinary Association representing the views of vets working in UK Government Departments and Executive Agencies.
AGV/VPHA Spring Conference POSTPONED
We have decided to postpone the Spring conference on the basis of Public Health advice and as a precuationary step to assist the UK Government's response.
We are in discussion with the confrence venue and are hoping to be able to postpone the conference until October in the same venue and will be in touch with further details.
Outstanding work of Government vets recognised by BVA president and Defra Minister
Vets working in government and public health roles were praised as "unsung heros" and "a credit to our profession" by BVA President Daniella Dos Santos in a speech at the BVA's annual London dinner in Westminster on 04 February. Over 80 guests attended including Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner of Kimble, England’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss as well as key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations and colleagues from across the veterinary profession.
Speeking in reply, Lord Gardiner also praised "the outstanding work undertaken by vets working for the Government Veterinary Service" adding that "the Government Veterinary Service offers the chance to make a real difference on matters of national, and international importance. Our vets work hard to protect public health, ensure high levels of biosecurity, advise on innovative animal welfare policies and new and emerging threats such as the new coronavirus from China."
A busy year for AGV Council
In the past year, AGV Council has provided input on behalf of our members to at least 13 BVA consultations. At our latest Annual General Meeting we were commended by the BVA President Simon Doherty who stated that BVA could not do its work without our input and recognised that as one of the smaller BVA specialist divisions we ‘punched above our weight’.
In addition to providing input to BVA we have been actively championing the voice of govenment vets through our work on the Government vet wellbeing survey and in communications with Secretary of State Michael Gove and we continue to provide AGV representation on several national steering groups as well as internationally through the European Association of State Veterinary Officers (EASVO).
AGV Launches Vet Wellbeing Survey Report
On 14 February 2019 AGV launched its Government Vet Wellbeing Survey Report. This is the first report of its kind and provides unique insight into the state of wellbeing of vets who work directly for or provide services to UK Government.
Rebeca García, AGV President said:
“We are proud to be publishing our pioneering Wellbeing Survey Report today to highlight the positive aspects and challenges to personal wellbeing faced by vets working both directly for and providing services to the UK Government Departments.
We are very pleased to see that this report has raised considerable interest in this area. The report summarises responses from over 700 vets and highlights key issues impacting on wellbeing.
We have made over 30 recommendations and would like to thank everyone who has supported this initiative, particularly those who have taken the time to respond to the long list of questions circulated.
We hope that this report serves to help identify both the positive aspects as well as the challenges of government veterinary work.
This report is a great opportunity and tool for those working with and employing government vets to follow up on the themes identified and work to support and improve the wellbeing of their teams.
AGV will continue to work to support the wellbeing of our members and, where possible, to help implement the recommendations”
Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, welcomed the publication of this report:
“I welcome this report and thank the Association of Government Vets for their initiative in grasping the well-being ‘nettle’, a subject that can be difficult and awkward but must not be ignored. Tackling well-being must not end up in the ‘too difficult’ box.
The first steps in the journey of resolving a problem is to first recognise it and secondly understand it beyond the superficial and anecdotal. In my opinion this is what AGV have done with this report.
We are lucky to work in a profession that can be so rewarding. Our profession is lucky to have bright, dedicated, hard-working members up-holding it. Let’s work together as a profession to achieve the well-being we all deserve.”
Spring Conference 2019
23 March 2019, Gloucester
Solving future veterinary dilemmas by building resilient vets and a strong profession for the future. An interactive and thought-provoking day with plenty of time for discussions.
AGV responds to Michael Gove's "EU vet snub"
On 13 June during and oral evidence session at the House of Commons (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee) Secretary of State Michael Gove stated:
“...other countries have people who are skilled and valuable who fulfil a vet med function, but who are not trained to the same level. That is one of the reasons, for example, that in our abattoirs we often have people from other countries who do a great job, but who do not necessarily have the same level of qualification as full-dress vets here.”
AGV members raised severe concerns over the implications of this statement. In a letter sent to Michael Gove on 21 June 2018 AGV president Rebeca Garcia wrote:
"The RCVS verifies that the qualifications are to the appropriate standard and this means that every veterinary surgeon, without regards to their career path or country of origin, is “a full-dress vet”. Within the Association of Government Veterinarians we continue to remind everyone that veterinarians working in Government, as an example, are fully qualified and trained veterinarians. The fact that they have chosen a particular career path as public health experts, for example, does not mean that they have any lesser level of qualification. It is their career choice."
She asked for the Secretary of State to "rectify the erroneous impression [the] statement has given as soon as possible, to mitigate the potential damage that it has caused"
The British Veterinary Association also responded to Michael Gove's comments. BVA President John Fishwick said:
“The UK workforce is heavily reliant on the skills of our veterinary colleagues who qualified in the EU. Without them the public health and meat hygiene sector would grind to a halt."
“Mr Gove’s comments to Efra Committee are incorrect and insulting to EU vets who are highly qualified for the roles they undertake. We are asking him to retract these comments to demonstrate that the UK Government recognises the value of the whole veterinary profession in the UK, not just those who qualified here."
Launch of Govenment Vet Wellbeing Survey
The Association of Government Veterinarians (AGV) in close collaboration with Government Veterinary Services (GVS) has launched a wellbeing survey.
This survey seeks to capture information relating to the wellbeing of veterinarians undertaking Government roles, including vets directly employed by Government departments and also vets working for the Government under contract, such as Official Veterinarians. This is to recognise and help raise awareness of the multiple challenges faced by veterinarians undertaking roles for Government as a distinct subset of the veterinary profession.
Following the survey, a report will be collated to present key information that:
- Identifies existing issues affecting government vets wellbeing
- Identifies existing tools to promote wellbeing within Government and consider developing new ones if necessary.
- Identifies best practice and any gaps in the wellbeing services currently available that veterinarians in Government roles would benefit from.
This initiative also has support from the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Government Veterinary Services, Defra, APHA and FSA wellbeing advisers and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA). The survey was launched at the spring AGV/VPHA conference that took place on the 17th of March under the theme “Brexit and the Vet Profession”.
Contact: Rebeca Garcia - Rebeca.Garcia@apha.gsi.gov.uk
New president Rebeca Garcia
Rebeca Garcia was voted in as the new AGV President at our Annual General Meeting on 17 March 2018. As part of her new Presidency Rebeca is keen to help raise awareness and promote the role of Government Veterinarians supporting animals and society. As part of this Rebeca launched a new AGV Wellbeing Survey for Government Vets at the 2018 Spring Conference
NEW AGV Careers page
We have launched a new careers page containing a selection of blog posts and useful links for vets looking to start or develop their careers in the Civil Service.
To recommend additional links to include please contact Anthony Ridge - AGV webmaster
Strengthening the voice of UK Government Vets in Europe
We are pleased to announce that AGV Council member Jane Clark was elected to serve as President of the European Association of State Veterinary Officers (EASVO) in November 2017.
EASVO represents the interests of State Veterinary Officers at a European level and is a section of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).
The Presidency gives Jane the opportunity to build relationships with members of the FVE and the other 3 FVE sections - UEVH (Veterinary Hygienists), UEVP (Veterinary Practitioners) and EVERI (Vets in Education, Research and Industry) - during the EU Exit negotiations.
The FVE/BVA/RCVS have recently issued a joint press release calling on Brexit negotiators to secure animal welfare, surveillance and medicines.
EASVO Board 2017-19
L-R: Ole-Herman Tronerud - Secretary General; Pavel Bravek - Vice President; Jane Clark - President; Ray Finn - Senior
Fabien Loup - Vice President; (Absent - Cornelia Rossi-Broy - Treasurer)
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