Press release

APHA awards contracts for TB testing and other veterinary services in Wales

APHA has confirmed the award of contracts for the supply of veterinary services across 2 regions covering Wales.

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The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has confirmed the award of contracts for the supply of a flexible package of veterinary services across 2 regions covering Wales to improve our ability to detect animal disease.

From 1 April 2015 all new TB testing and other Official Veterinarian (OV) work in Wales will be undertaken by the 2 regional suppliers, who will be responsible for allocating vets and ensuring testing is carried out to a high standard. This will ensure the ongoing quality of testing for animal disease.

Commenting on the award of contracts APHA’s Veterinary Director, Simon Hall, said:

“This is a significant milestone in modernising APHA’s partnership with the veterinary profession in Wales, and will improve our ability to detect disease through on farm testing and protect animal health.

“The new arrangements provide higher levels of assurance about quality of testing and value for money. Testing will continue to be performed by fully qualified vets and APHA will carry on working in close partnership with the veterinary profession.

“Local veterinary practices have always made an invaluable contribution to national disease control programmes and this new arrangement underlines the critical role they will continue to play in protecting animal health and welfare.”

The successful suppliers (to be known as Delivery Partners) are:

Region Delivery Partner
Wales North Menter a Busnes
Wales South Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd

The contracts have been awarded for a 3 year period, with the option to extend up to a further 2 years.

APHA is not yet in a position to award contracts for the 5 regions in England. An unsuccessful tenderer has issued legal proceedings in respect of the English lots and this matter is currently being addressed. This matter remains commercially confidential. Further information on the award of contracts in England will be provided shortly.

Farmers and livestock keepers in Wales will continue to be responsible for ensuring that TB testing is completed on time but in future will need to contact their regional Delivery Partner to make the arrangements.

Delivery Partners will then be responsible for allocating the actual testing activity through their network of practices, and for assuring the quality of the work performed.

In recognition of the important relationship between farmers or livestock keepers and their vets in preventing and controlling disease and for ensuring the health and welfare of animals, the new contracts require Delivery Partners to offer testing work to eligible veterinary businesses operating within their geographical regions.

Work that has already been assigned to Official Veterinarian (OV) practices under existing arrangements will be completed by those practices but from 1 April all new work will be undertaken by delivery partners.

When making arrangements for tests, farmers and livestock keepers can express a preference to use a specific veterinary practice from within the Delivery Partners network to undertake their testing, and this preference will be honoured where possible.

Farmers and livestock keepers who would prefer to use a practice that is not part of the Delivery Partners network retain an option to pay for the testing privately.

APHA will work to ensure that the livestock industry and veterinary profession are given information and support in preparation for the introduction of the new processes.

We will be working with each of the Delivery Partners to establish joint plans for transition and communication of what the changes mean in detail, further information will be published before the new arrangements commence.

See the contact details for the Veterinary Delivery Partners in England and Wales.

Published 27 January 2015