The UK’s top three animal health advisors, known as SQPs (Suitably Qualified Persons), have been named at the AHDA (Animal Health Distributors Association) conference held on 28th January 2014. Prizes were given to the students with the highest scores in the 2013 professional SQP examinations, which are overseen by AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority) – the UK’s independent regulatory body for SQPs.
One of the winners is Jennifer Evans, of Clynderwen & Cardiganshire Farmers Ltd, who was also awarded the AHDA Cup sponsored by Novartis, for the best student from an AHDA member.
“I was very surprised to hear that I am this year’s top SQP student!” Jennifer says. “Now that I’m a qualified SQP I can discuss and prescribe POM-VPS (Prescription-only Medicines – Veterinarian, Pharmacist and SQP) medicines for our customers, to help maintain animal welfare and improve the profitability of their businesses. It is always rewarding working with a customer to make the right decision regarding their livestock’s health.”
Jennifer comes from a farming background and has a degree in agriculture. “The SQP qualification course built on the livestock modules I covered during my degree in Agriculture,” Jennifer explains. “I’ve also enjoyed the AMTRA CPD (Continuing Professional Development), which is an important aspect of the SQP qualification, as it ensures you are giving the most relevant and up-to-date advice to customers.”
This year’s other winning students are Amanda MacRaild, who works for Pets at Home in Scotland and specialises in companion animal care, and equine specialist Rebecca White, who works for Beeston Animal Health in Cheshire.
“Customers are increasingly aware of SQPs and the value of the work they do,” says Stephen Dawson, Secretary General of AMTRA. “SQPs have to study throughout their careers in order to keep their professional qualification. Because of this, they can give the latest advice on a range of treatments. Many livestock owners rely on SQPs to help keep their animals healthy,” he concludes.“I’d like to congratulate all our winners on doing so well,” continues Stephen Dawson. “The SQP qualification exams are moderated by Harper Adams College, and are designed to be challenging. Our SQPs are a hard-working group, and at AMTRA we are keen to recognise their commitment and professionalism through these annual awards,” Stephen Dawson explains. “Many of our students this year scored highly in their written and oral examinations, our three best students have done extremely well in the face of so much competition,” he concludes.
Over 800 SQPs qualified in 2013, bringing the total number of SQPs working across the UK’s animal health industry to almost 5400.