The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the extension of new bovine tuberculosis (bTB) contracts.

BVA president John Blackwell.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has confirmed while veterinary practices have signed the new TB contracts in large numbers across four of the five English regions, the deadline for vets in Devon and Cornwall has been extended to May 14 as take up there has been lower.

In a letter to BVA and the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), Simon Hall, veterinary director at APHA, stated “large numbers of practices have already signed subcontracts in four of the five regions… Across England as a whole, almost 200 practices have already signed subcontracts, with others expected do so very soon”.

APHA awarded TB testing contracts to five delivery partners for England in February and the delivery partners issued contracts to potential subcontractors (veterinary practices) earlier this month.

The deadline for signing contracts was April 24, with a start date of today (May 1). BVA is continuing to provide support for members who have requested legal advice on a number of specific queries and concerns in relation to the draft contracts.

BVA president John Blackwell said: “The large numbers of veterinary practices signing up to the new contracts for TB testing across four of the five English regions demonstrates the veterinary profession has prioritised delivery of TB testing for the public good, and will ensure the fight against TB will continue without delay.

“While issues with the draft contracts in Devon and Cornwall, coupled with a very tight deadline, have resulted in a smaller number of subcontractors signing up there, the extension to May 14 is welcome and will give veterinary practices more time to seek further clarification and legal advice if necessary.

“The control of TB is most effectively delivered through nurturing strong collaboration and working relationships within the profession. The strong engagement of the veterinary profession with the new TB testing arrangements shows yet again veterinary surgeons put their professional duties first.”

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