Power to make regulations about veterinary medicines

Part of Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 8 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:45, 8 Mehefin 2020

I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising the matter of capacity within the veterinary industry as it stands, in order to provide equity throughout. I recognise that he has given us examples of north-south disparities and so on, and I recognise the good intentions behind the new clause and his desire to ensure that the veterinary industry is working to full capacity and in unanimity across the piece. We agree that vets are an essential part of our animals’ lives and a key component of the UK system of protecting food safety, providing international assurance and upholding standards in welfare.

The Government are already working with various veterinary sector stakeholders, including the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association, to understand the UK’s veterinary resourcing needs and ensure that there are adequate numbers of vets in the short and long term. We are working with a variety of initiatives to build a sustainable, diverse and modernised UK veterinary infrastructure to ensure that we maintain access to the right people, with the right skills and knowledge, supporting food safety and animal health and welfare, as well as trade. DEFRA has successfully secured a place for the veterinary profession on the Home Office shortage occupation list, and we are grateful to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association for their work on the issue. It makes it easier for veterinary employers to gain visas.

To turn to specifics, as Members will know, the Bill introduces a statutory duty to consult before making changes to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013. That consultation duty, in clause 40, requires that the appropriate authority must, before making regulations, consult those it considers appropriate. That is the most suitable route for ensuring that all those in the veterinary industry who need to be consulted are included. We are working across Government and with the veterinary profession to help to develop a flexible, skilled workforce that meets UK needs and irons out disparity of service. I want to assure the hon. Member for Nottingham North that it is a key priority to enable an innovative, productive and competitive veterinary medicine sector that invests in its people and skills. To help to achieve that, we shall ensure that there is access to sufficient appropriately skilled labour to drive continued industry growth and productivity, while ensuring that the environment for humans and animals is safe.