Round table on joint vet degree at Aberystwyth
19 December 2017
Plans to bring veterinary medicine training to Aberystwyth have been discussed at a special round table meeting for representatives from the veterinary and animal health sector in Wales.
The consultancy meeting heard how Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College in London are working together on proposals for a joint BVetMed degree.
Organisations represented at the event included the British Veterinary Association, the Iechyd Da consortium of independent veterinary practices, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Farmers’ Union of Wales, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre, the Pig Veterinary Society, the Sheep Veterinary Society, the British Horse Society, Farming Connect, the RSPCA and others.
Opening the meeting, Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Student Experience at Aberystwyth University, said: “We all agree as academics and industry professionals that Wales needs high quality veterinary training provision. The rural economy here is highly dependent on animal production but there are currently no vet training opportunities in Wales.
“In response to this need, representatives from the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Science (IBERS) and the RVC are discussing the detail of how we can deliver a joint BVetMed degree and we will continue to refine our proposals over the coming months. We will also continue to engage with the industry in Wales and with government as we work on turning our ambitious plans into reality.”
The meeting was given further information about how the proposal for a joint degree between Aberystwyth University and the RVC would work.
Dr Robert Abayasekara, who chairs the RVC’s Teaching Quality Committee, explained that students would spend the first two years at IBERS at Aberystwyth University before transferring to the RVC’s Hawkshead Campus for three years.
During this three-year period, students on the joint BVetMed degree would return to Wales to spend an agreed period of time on extramural placements.
“There is universal agreement on the need for veterinary medicine training in Wales but the costs of setting up a brand new vet school are prohibitive at around £50m. This proposed partnership between the RVC and Aberystwyth University offers a solution to the need to ensure a supply of vets in Wales,” said Dr Abayasekara.
“There are strong synergies between the two institutions. The RVC is the oldest vet school in the English-speaking world. Aberystwyth has a tradition of delivering courses with a substantial animal health component and currently offers seven BSc courses in this area. We can work together to help deliver answers to the recruitment problems facing veterinary practices, especially in the area of large animal health.”
Further information about animal health courses at IBERS can be found online.