RCVS Knowledge launches new Farm Vet Champions learning course

RCVS Knowledge is delighted to launch its new Farm Vet Champions course, providing free and practical training in championing good antimicrobial stewardship, available on the charity’s new e-learning platform.

The Farm Vet Champions initiative is building a supportive community of farm animal veterinary professionals to collaborate and share knowledge to apply preventative measures and active management plans to establish and embed good antibiotic principles. 

Led by RCVS Knowledge and funded by the VMD, the project has brought together major UK specialised veterinary and agriculture organisations to develop free learning materials for farm veterinary professionals that will improve animal health and welfare standards and provide positive inspiration and leadership towards antimicrobial resistance (AMR). 

The launch of phase one of the project sees the release of the learning modules on the new RCVS Knowledge Learn platform. The course covers: 

  • technical species-specific modules, 
  • communication skills and behaviour change principles,   
  • the legal use of veterinary medicines, policies, and One Health aspects of antibiotic prescribing and stewardship.  

On 13 May 2021, users will be able to access the platform and choose which modules are relevant to their area of work. A total of 20 hours of free on-demand CPD will be instrumental for the Farm Vet Champions in tackling AMR. 

The second phase, due to start development over Summer 2021, will provide online and in-person networking opportunities for Farm Vet Champions to learn from one another by sharing their experiences and working together towards the common goal of good antibiotic stewardship. Farm Vet Champions and their practices will also be able to use the platform to set both their own and their practice’s SMART goals. They will be able to track progress towards these goals, to help support the sustained translation of their learning into practice. 

Based on the principles of ‘Plan, Prevent, Protect’ Farm Vet Champions will put infection prevention and control practices at the heart of veterinary prescribing on livestock farms.   

Chris Gush, Executive Director of RCVS Knowledge, said, “With antimicrobial resistance being one of the top 10 health threats facing our planet, we are delighted with the quality of the Farm Vet Champions course and we look forward to connecting with farm vets across the UK to tackle AMR. Farm Vet Champions is just the beginning of our work in antimicrobial prescribing, and we look forward to building on our resources that will benefit all animals, the public and society.” 

Fiona Lovatt, Farm Vet Champions Clinical Lead, said, “I am incredibly proud of the Farm Vet Champions project and extremely grateful to every member of our steering group who have been instrumental in the creation of high-quality and engaging learning materials. I encourage all UK farm vets to sign up and join us on the journey to tackle AMR.”  

Mark Jelley, cattle farmer, NFU Livestock Board, said, “I am really impressed with the quality and scope of the materials available on the Farm Vet Champion site – this is such a hugely important resource for all our vets. As a cattle farmer, I am acutely aware of how important it is that my vet is both up to date and well informed.” 

UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said, “The Chief Veterinary Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland welcome the launch of the new Farm Vet Champions learning platform which is going live on 13th May. We are particularly proud of RCVS Knowledge’s and VMD’s joint efforts for bridging gaps and supporting vets in their ability to deliver animal health and welfare improvements and fight Antimicrobial Resistance.  

Recent global events have shown the important role veterinary surgeons play in One Health and that there remains work to do in prevention, control and eradication of diseases. We look forward to seeing the improvements this new learning platform will bring in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance and preventive livestock veterinary medicine, in the coming months.”  

Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, said, “We’re delighted to see the launch of Farm Vet Champions which was inspired by, and adds to, the work done by Arwain Vet Cymru here in Wales. This provides an excellent additional resource for vets in Wales, who can benefit from the support of their practice Veterinary Prescribing Champion as Arwain Vet Cymru members, as well as becoming Farm Vet Champions themselves. Our Veterinary Prescribing Champions have pioneered antimicrobial stewardship in Welsh agriculture, and we welcome this UK-wide initiative as another step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance. We look forward to working together.”  

Shelia Voas, Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, said, “Tremendous progress has been made in reducing antibiotic use in food producing animals to date but there is still work to do. I hope all practices working with livestock in Scotland will aim to have at least one Farm Vet Champion to ensure a strong culture of responsible prescribing and use of antimicrobials.”  

Robert Huey, Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, said, “As CVO for Northern Ireland, I have encouraged farm vets to avail of this opportunity to become Farm Vet Champions, and to continue their good work in establishing good antimicrobial stewardship in practices and on farms.”  

Catherine McLaughlin, Chair of the Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA), said, “RUMA welcomes this superb industry initiative which further demonstrates the UK’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the responsible use of antibiotics in farming enterprises nationwide.  

The FVC is a scheme that features in a number of the RUMA Targets Task Force sector commitments and represents a positive mechanism to help broaden the knowledge and engagement of vets who are vital in championing best practice when it comes to responsible antibiotic prescribing behaviours. FVC is another example of multi-sector collaboration to achieve ongoing strengthening of animal health and welfare standards and we would encourage all UK farm vets to sign up.”  

Farm Vet Champions can be accessed for free at https://learn.rcvsknowledge.org/

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