Paul Flynn – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Paul Flynn on 2014-04-01.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Royal College of Pathologists on the effects on human and animal safety of reductions in the number of national pathology laboratories from 14 to 7; and if he will publish the impact assessment produced by his Department on such a plan.

George Eustice

Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and Defra have met with the Royal College of Pathologists, to discuss the new Surveillance model, on four separate occasions between September 2012 and the introduction of changes to the Surveillance model on 1 April 2014.

A formal impact assessment was not required for this work because it does not involve a change in regulation. Submission into the scanning surveillance system is a voluntary activity that has no regulatory aspect. However the ‘Changes to the delivery of Veterinary Scanning Surveillance in England and Wales, December 2013′ document published on the AHVLA website does consider the impact of the changes, recognises that there are negative impacts (e.g. some farms will be further from an AHVLA Post Mortem facility) but concludes that these are outweighed by the benefit of having stronger national centres of excellence and a better coordinated network of support from private practices.