May 2014: Everyone needs to do their bit to keep exotic disease out

After six months isolation focusing purely on inputs and outputs, and being at the beck and call of my newborn little boy, it’s lovely to be back – much as I love him… Seriously, there’s only so much daytime TV any sane person can take!

I was very excited to come back to work, but I also had a certain amount of trepidation; the NPA had done a very good job of shielding me from the daily email onslaught, but even though there had been no major disasters (thankfully) it still appears to have been a very busy few months.

The first thing that struck me on my return was what a damn fine job Lizzie had done in my absence; so much so that I started to wonder whether I needed to come back at all! The number of people who have come up to me or emailed and told me how great she’s been has been amazing, and I’m so proud of how she has faced and overcome so many issues, dealing effortlessly with the likes of Tristram Stuart, giving evidence to MPs, challenging retailers and doing battle in Brussels on country of origin labelling and welfare.

So, although I’ve already said it privately, my heartfelt thanks go to Lizzie and the team for what they’ve done while I’ve been away, and will continue to do now I’m back!

During my first week back at work, I was catapulted straight into the thick of it with an exotic and emerging diseases roundtable organised by the Pig Health and Welfare Council. Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff, and it gave me an opportunity to share my frustration with the cross industry and Government officials present over the need for action rather than endless planning and talking.

We certainly need to make sure that the recommendations from this meeting (and there were about 40 of them!) are acted upon, otherwise we’ll be no better off or prepared for the next disease that hits our shores.

People are finally making a bit of money and I would hate for that situation to change as a result of needless risk taking. Everyone has to do their bit to help keep disease out and the NPA will be making sure that no-one has an excuse not to do so!

>Dr Zoë Davies is chief executive of the NPA. For more information visit:

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