The number of SQPs in the UK has reached a record high, following the latest SQP qualification exams. Fifty new SQPs have been added to the AMTRA register this month, bringing the total to almost 4,000.

The number of SQPs in the UK has reached a record high, following the latest SQP qualification exams. Fifty new SQPs have been added to the AMTRA register this month, bringing the total to almost 4,000.
 
An SQP (Suitably Qualified Person) is an animal health advisor who, once qualified, is allowed to prescribe and/or supply certain medicines (those classified POM-VPS and NFA-VPS) for farm animals, horses, and pets.
 
The number of SQPs in the UK has reached a record highThe new SQPs come from a broad base within the animal health industry and include veterinary nurses, pet shop staff, equine suppliers and agricultural merchants, and take the total to the record number of 3,884.
 
All SQPs have to pass a series of written and oral exams at Higher Education level 4 (first-year degree level). The exams cover a wide range of subjects including knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition as well as a good understanding of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations and the SQP Code of Practice.
 
In order to qualify, SQPs also need to demonstrate thorough knowledge of current animal medicines in order to advise clients on appropriate product choice and optimal use, storage, handling and waste disposal. Disease control, parasite control strategies and knowing when to refer the animal owner to seek advice from a veterinary surgeon are also important parts of the role of the SQP.
 
New requirements on SQPs upgrading their qualification by the end of 2008 saw the number of SQPs dip a little, but with these newly qualified SQPs the total now exceeds historic levels. The majority of them specialise in companion animals, but there is good growth in equine and large animal SQPs.
 
AMTRA secretary general Stephen Dawson said: “SQP retailers remain committed to providing excellent advice, good customer service and great value for animal owners. I’m delighted to welcome these latest recruits to the almost 4,000 professionals serving the UK’s animals with high quality VPS medicines and advice.”

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