Proposed changes to the network of Veterinary Disease Surveillance Centres (DSCs) in Scotland have been opened to consultation by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

The DSCs are operated by SRUC’s SAC Consulting Veterinary Services on behalf of the Scottish Government, and the proposed developments are intended to ensure that SRUC maintains an efficient, sustainable and robust disease surveillance service for Scotland and the UK.

Announced in the wake of the Kinnaird Review of Veterinary Surveillance, plans include significant changes to service delivery at the Inverness and Ayr DSCs, as well as the relocation of the Aberdeen and Edinburgh operations to new premises near their current locations. 

Initial consultations with key stakeholders on options to improve the delivery of services to vets and farmers in Scotland include such proposals as:

  • the closure of the Inverness DSC in the autumn of 2015, with the region thereafter being served from the Thurso, Aberdeenshire and Perth DSCs
  • training and supporting veterinary practitioners to carry out post mortem examinations on farm, or at some other convenient location
  • the strengthening of teaching links between Ayr DSC and the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine (including the possibility of relocating the Ayr DSC from Auchincruive to the veterinary campus)

In line with the Kinnaird Review’s recommendations, a central diagnostic laboratory will be developed on the Easter Bush estate in Midlothian, closely aligned with the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Due to open in 2017, the new laboratory will also house a new Edinburgh DSC.

SRUC acting chief executive Janet Swadling said: “Against a budget that is reducing in real terms we have prepared a plan to provide a more efficient service which is fit for the future, considers local demands and the need to retain a critical mass of important expertise.

“The quality of Scotland’s contribution to veterinary surveillance, its investigations of disease outbreaks and alerts about new threats is valued in the UK and beyond. Our staff are highly trained and their expertise is respected by our clients and government agencies. As any agreed changes are implemented we will continue to deliver the service to this high standard, with minimal disruption to stakeholders.”

  • Further details of the consultation are available from the SRUC website.
  • Those wishing to comment on the proposals are invited to contact Brian Hosie, head of SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, at or call 0131 535 3139.
  • The consultation period will run until July 10, 2015.
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