A new regulator of SQPs (suitably qualified persons) is set to launch in 2019. Vetpol has, for many years, been actively involved in veterinary and animal owning communities and is currently in the process of gaining accreditation for its training course. The company has already attracted the interest of a number of stakeholders in animal health, as well as sponsors who have provided seed funding for the initiative.
Vetpol intends to take a fresh approach, based on its vision of how the market for veterinary medicines is changing. The new course will be delivered online – opening up opportunities for those in more remote areas and reducing the time spent away from the business.
SQPs have grown in number over the last decade and there’s a continuing need for the category of veterinary medicines they dispense. Both retailers and veterinary practices are facing increased pressure on margins and will want to dispense medicines in a way that’s both safe, compliant and appropriate for their customers and clients.
Director Caroline Johnson says, “Our long-term vision is to establish a business of veterinary pharmacy professionals capable of delivering real value to the customers and businesses they serve”.
The course itself aims to be easy to understand and assimilate and also comprehensive, with a focus on communication and being able to make better recommendations with regard to the health of the animal. There will also be clarity on the remit of the role and working with other professionals – including the need to refer to a veterinary surgeon in appropriate circumstances.
The online nature of the course allows it to be updated regularly with new information on emerging parasite risks and new research. Weather patterns and increased movement of animals within the UK and across Europe, mean that parasite populations and their distribution are changing significantly and the course will keep pace with that variation.
With an increase in the number of products available across all categories to support the health of horses and small animals, these sections of the course will be comprehensive and focused on market needs. This will make it a very relevant qualification, create a potential point of difference for outlets and build expertise within businesses that want to grow or support their equine and small pet sectors.
The production animal module will be up to date with a focus on improving production, maintaining welfare standards, herd health planning and how SQPs can help farmers put their plan into action, again in line with current practice.
Caroline says the ultimate aim is to train competent and confident SQPs who are able to use their qualification to energise businesses, support clients and customers and make informed and responsible recommendations.