Hand of a vet holding phials of chemicals used to test for bovine tuberculosis on a farm© Geoff Pagotto

Two delivery partners have been awarded contracts for TB testing in Wales as part of a government shake-up of farm veterinary services.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has awarded three-year contracts to Menter a Busnes, in North Wales, and Iechyd Da (Gwledig), in South Wales, to deliver bovine TB testing and other official veterinarian (OV) services in Wales.

The APHA said further information on the award of contracts in five regions of England would be provided soon.

See also: Government agency to shake up delivery of TB testing

From 1 April, all new TB testing and other OV work in Wales will be undertaken by the two regional suppliers, who will be “responsible for allocating vets and ensuring testing is carried out to a high standard”, the government agency said.

Farmers will continue to be responsible for ensuring that TB testing is completed on time, but in future they will need to contact their regional delivery partner to make the arrangements.

When making arrangements for tests, farmers and livestock keepers can express a preference to use a specific veterinary practice from within the delivery partners network to undertake their testing, and this preference will be honoured where possible.

Farmers and livestock keepers who would prefer to use a practice that is not part of the delivery partners network retain an option to pay for the testing privately.

Rob Davies, president of the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Welsh branch, said: “We hope the APHA continue to recognise that local vets are essential to delivering reliable and effective OV services.

“However we still maintain that the delivery of OV services must not be driven by cost savings. It is essential that the remuneration that local trusted practices receive reflects the expertise and quality of the service they deliver.”