A Professional Diagnostic Service
warmwell's summary of the talk given by Ruth Watkins to the EU Commission's Enquiry into FMD. Sept 2 2002.
A professional diagnostic service headed by a dedicated, highly trained specialist, is my suggestion for avoiding the worst errors of the 2001 FMD UK outbreak.
When an epidemic is discovered, a competent professional service will be provided by a dedicated veterinary virologist with a thorough grounded professional competence -including higher specialist training in all veterinary animal viruses relevant to the UK. He or she will have appropriate clinical veterinary experience and be a member of the Royal College of Pathologists (by examination)
. This specialist veterinary virology consultant (I would like to appoint Paul Kitching as the specialist veterinary virologist - I have enjoyed my telephone conversations with him - they recommend him to me for this job!) would play the lead role in managing the outbreak
- give advice on differential diagnosis
- produce policies and protocols
- carry out laboratory testing and be in charge of the interpretation of its results
- educate and liaise with in-house vets, vets in general and others such as DEFRA employees.
Research scientists have, unfortunately, to spend much of their time raising money for research and in the writing of papers for publication. This is what they are appraised on. However, the consultant in charge of this proposed diagnostic service would instead be appraised on the provision of such a service - not on research. (SVS officials from DEFRA do not have the ongoing responsibility and knowledge that hands-on experience of running a virus laboratory brings.)
CLICK HERE for Dr Ruth Watkins positive proposal and how it differs from what actually happened