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Bella Moss Foundation launches programmes for vet staff

A LEADING charity which raises awareness on the incidence and treatment of MRSA in pets is moving ahead with two new projects designed to help raise veterinary standards.

The Bella Moss Foundation is announcing the launch of two projects for vets and veterinary staff aimed at helping them meet their Continuing Professional Development requirements.

The first is a programme of CPD events for vets organised in association with Janssen Animal Welfare and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, and scheduled to take place at locations across the country between November 2006 and March 2007.

The events will focus on the human, veterinary and microbiological aspects of MRSA, and will include Professor David Lloyd, Anette Loeffler and Amanda Boag from the Royal Veterinary College and Dr Tim Nuttall of Liverpool University among the featured speakers. Idexx Laboratories, one of the country’s leading microbiological labs and closely involved with veterinary work, will also be represented as will other veterinary colleges in Scotland.

The events, which are sponsored in part by Petplan Insurance, will take place at the RVC, in Scotland, Cambridge, Leeds, Bristol and the Midlands and are aimed at building on the achievements of the First International Conference on MRSA in Animals that was held at Liverpool University’s veterinary school in June.

Helen Goldberg, who is leading the involvement of Janssen Animal Welfare in the programme, said, ‘Janssen has a strong commitment to improving access to new veterinary knowledge and we are delighted to be associated with The Bella Moss Foundation in this programme. We know that vets will get great value from these events and that animal welfare will improve as a result.’

Jill Moss, President of The Bella Moss Foundation, said, ‘We knew it was important to take the work that was presented at the June conference out to practicing vets and to make and make it both affordable and convenient. Vets don’t have a lot of time or money, and we think these events offer great value given the quality of the speakers and the importance of the information.’

The full schedule of events is being publicised by Janssen and also through the BSAVA.
The second project is aimed principally at veterinary nurses and other associated practice staff and involves a dedicated website where nurses and other staff can access information.

Project leader Mark Dosher, Secretary of the Foundation, said, ‘We were approached by a vet with the idea of developing an on-line educational tool that would help his practice staff cement knowledge on MRSA and other serious infection affecting animals. The Petplan Charitable Trust has given a grant to develop the programme and we are in discussion with the College of Animal Welfare and website developers to get the programme up and running.’

The website will have three parts; detailed information on MRSA and infection control issues, photographs of areas of a veterinary practice demonstrating good and bad practice, and a multiple-choice questionnaire.

‘The questionnaire is being developed by staff at The College of Animal welfare and is aimed at helping staff retain the information they need, and we plan to issue a Certificate of Achievement validated by an educational body to those successfully completing it. We want staff in veterinary practices to value their own knowledge and contribute more to effective care, and this is one way of achieving that.’

Petplan Charitable Trust has given a grant to start the programme and The Foundation is already in talks with commercial companies to sponsor the ongoing costs.

Dosher added: ‘These two programmes are just the first steps in what we hope will be an integrated programme of learning suitable for all those working in veterinary care, and demonstrate our commitment to working with the veterinary profession in improving access to knowledge and information to all working with animals.’