Representation and Education

Changes to the temporary amendments to TB Testing

Many BCVA members will be aware that COVID and lockdown necessitated several temporary amendments to TB testing rules to allow testing to continue as much as possible, whilst trying to keep farmers and vets safe.  

In England, one of these amendments was to extend the testing window, which allowed a delay in carrying out the test for up to 2 months for certain test types. Applications for delays were only ever designed to be applied for once, and the concession was probably most used during the peak of lockdown restrictions.  

Due to dwindling demand, APHA have confirmed in a meeting with BCVA president Nikki Hopkins last week, that this amendment has not been extended past the original cease date of 30th June 2020. However, we are acutely aware that flexibility is essential in these still uncertain times, and have gained assurance from APHA that individual circumstances relating to COVID, that make TB testing difficulties for practice or farmer, will still be considered for extension requests in specific circumstances.  

The guidelines are as follows: 

  • APHA will consider requests from OVs on a case-by-case basis to delay closure of TB testing windows as per the concession for tests allocated up to 30 June 2020. OVs must continue to follow the instructions in OV briefing note 12/20. 
  • If veterinary practices are affected by track & trace (e.g. a proportion of staff have to self-isolate for 14 days) and this significantly affects their ability to deliver TB testing then they must notify APHA: 
    • VDP subcontractor practices to escalate via their regional company who will notify APHA  
    • Non-VDP practices to contact APHA TB advice to discuss the impact  
  • If individual cattle keepers are affected by local lockdowns such that they can’t complete their TB test within the prescribed window, they should contact their OV in the first instance.  
  • Vets should encourage cattle keepers to book their TB tests as early in the testing window as possible to mitigate any potential delays/issues.  

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