News from AMTRA

AMTRA Council meet in January 2024

A new Council has been appointed and met in January. 

The council is comprised of a group of AMTRA RAMAs selected from a shortlist of volunteers, plus members of the Board, and observers from VMD and Harper Adams University. Council members have a role in representing the voice of RAMAs are a conduit of feedback. They play an important role in being the eyes and ears for AMTRA and helping AMTRA to adapt, learn and improve with the Council influencing decisions. 

Numerous topics were discussed some of which included: 

  1. Council members welcomed the new approach to exams, moving to Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) only for the level 4 exams (Base, Veterinary Nurse, Avian and Companion) planned from September this year, associated with a revised structure and increased pass mark. Council members championed the benefits the package of measures brings, including removal of the stress experienced by many candidates in association with the viva. 
  2. Members gave positive feedback on the seven CPD modules currently available on the AMTRA website. Stephen Dawson, AMTRA chief executive, said he would welcome any suggestions for future content, whether to be developed in-house or with external expertise.
  3. Council discussed a suggestion to carry out audits of the SQP prescribing and supply process, to complement the VMD inspections of the premises. Currently AMTRA has a reactive mechanism to deal with complaints, but the suggestion would be a more proactive approach, consistent with our role as a regulator. This aims to be a supportive process, highlighting good practice and providing advice and guidance where needed. Council welcomed the idea and further development of the concept. It would be necessary to consider whether all visits would be with prior notice, and if not how permissions would be managed.
  4. Lee Grist, who is the VMD observer for AMTRA, discussed latest finding from SQP retailers inspections, and will share data when available for wider circulation.
  5. Council discussed AMTRA’s revised approach for communications and PR. Alongside this, a lot of work had been done on developing a clearer strategy and associated tactics to achieve our communications and PR goals. The AMTRA staff invited input from Council as to what they would like to see: how do we maximise value and visibility of AMTRA and RAMAs/SQPs?
  6. Council members echoed earlier discussion on desirability in principle of enhancing the understanding of customers as to the role of the RAMA/SQP, and that case studies of how owners and their animals have gained from advice could be helpful in that. 

Stephen Dawson, AMTRA chief executive; Hillary Cowley AMTRA Deputy chief executive; Lesley Cooper, AMTRA administrator; John Blackwell, AMTRA deputy chair; Michael Seals, AMTRA Chair; Stella Kendall, Pets at Home, Companion Animal RAMA; Pam Mosedale, AMTRA Assessor; Gary Whyte, McCaskie Farm Supplies, Farm RAMA; George Aspey, Harper Adams University; Ally Anderson, BVA representative; Lee Grist, Head of the Distribution and Supply Chain at the VMD; Leah Spiers, farm RAMA.  


RAMA/SQP representatives on Council: 

  • Cara Baillie, VN SQP 
  • Melissa Ratcliffe, companion SQP, Pets at Home
  • Diane Gilby, equine SQP, EPLA, SQP on CANTER
  • Helen Walker, farm SQP