AMTRA has recorded the 500th staff member in a UK veterinary practice to qualify as a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), which reflects a growing trend, according to the organisation’s secretary general Stephen Dawson.
AMTRA has recorded the 500th staff member in a UK veterinary practice to qualify as an SQP, which reflects a growing trend, according to the organisation’s secretary general Stephen Dawson.
SQP (Suitably Qualified Person) is the legal term for animal health advisors who form a category of professionally qualified people who are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines in the UK under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.
Mr Dawson said the number of SQPs working at veterinary practices was on the rise, with about two-thirds of these working as veterinary nurses, and the remainder as other members of staff.
“Having an SQP in your veterinary practice allows you to offer a wider service to veterinary clients and non-clients alike,” he said.
“Vets may see this as an opportunity to get people in through the door to buy medicines and get advice. These customers may be non-clients who at a later stage will seek a veterinary consultation.”
Nicola Ackerman who is senior medical nurse and an SQP at the Veterinary Hospital Group in Plymouth, and who sits on the Veterinary Products Committee, said the role of vet nurses has been evolving over a number of years.
She explained: “More nurses are taking on consulting roles in practice, and the SQP qualification has aided these changes. “As a nurse who regularly consults, the added SQP qualification allows me to prescribe medications to the patients that I see without the requirement of seeing a veterinary surgeon.”
She went on: “Many clients seek advice on preventative medicines, and are not always aware that nurses provide these services for clients.
“Having SQPs in our practice has allowed our nurses to take a more proactive role in preventative medicines, and has given them a full understanding of the underpinning knowledge required for running a dispensary as many qualified prior to the new VMD regulations occurring.”