Consultation begins on disease surveillance changes in Scotland

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has announced proposals for changes to the network of Veterinary Disease Surveillance Centres (DSCs) it runs on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The plan includes potential closures in some areas, with services in other locations possibly being relocated as part of an overall restructuring of DSCs, similar to the reduction of centres recently carried out in England and Wales.

“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,” said SRUC’s acting chief executive, Janet Swadling.

“We are consulting closely with our staff and with external clients and stakeholders to ensure we get this right and we are grateful for their ongoing commitment and understanding.”

Ms Swadling added that 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 and that, despite any agreed changes which may be implemented, the aim would be to continue to deliver a high standard service, with minimal disruption to stakeholders.

NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manager, Penny Johnston, commented: “Whatever changes are being considered, the service available to farmers must not be diminished.  They must continue to have access to timely post-mortem and disease testing facilities and that effective disease surveillance across Scotland is preserved.”

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