AMTRA Awards Winners Point the Way to a Healthy Future

AMTRA announces 2020 Industry Award Winners

The country’s leading new registered animal medicines advisors (also known as SQPs) were recognised at a lavish awards ceremony during the annual AHDA conference, as the AMTRA Awards winners were announced at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday 15th January.

The winners have been named as Stephanie Batehup of Carrs Billington in Longtown, Cumbria; Helen Dominy Whiten (Dom) of Hill Park Veterinary Group in Essex; Emma Penn of Middlewich Veterinary Surgery in Cheshire; and Ellie Houston, who is currently studying as a veterinary nurse at Harper Adams University.

Overall winner and recipient of the AHDA Cup, sponsored by Elanco, is Stephanie Batehup, who also collected the Simon Fleet Cup and a cheque for £300 as the top advisor covering all species. She was presented with the top prize by Andrew Wylie of sponsors Zoetis.

Stephanie’s passion for producing the best stock possible inspired her to qualify with AMTRA while working on the family sheep farm, having just completed her first-class honours degree in Applied Animal Science through the SRUC in Edinburgh.

“I am extremely proud to have achieved the Overall Winner Award,” says Stephanie, “I believe communication and professionalism are the key skills and qualities we must demonstrate as AMTRA registered animal medicines advisors, building the trust with the customer. This helps us dispel some of the old myths around product use.”

Stephanie believes building this bond helps her to provide advice and information to help customers review current treatment and health plans, and look at alternative products that may be more appropriate. She is also passionate about preventing anthelmintic resistance.

The winner of the AMTRA Cup for best companion animal advisor is Helen Whiten, or Dom as she is better known, practice administrator of Hill Park Veterinary Group in Essex. Dom has been employed in various roles in veterinary practices for some 15 years, having previously worked as a horse mounted constable. She also embarks on voluntary work at the RSPCA Mid-Essex branch and clinic. Helen also receives a cheque for £200.

She says, “The most important part of my AMTRA role in a small animal veterinary practice is to provide clients with knowledge and advice to benefit their animals. In particular, enabling clients to understand the importance of effective treatments of endo- and ecto-parasites of their pets to improve family safety as well as pet welfare. I am delighted to have been recognised for this work.”

Emma Penn of Middlewich Veterinary Surgery in Cheshire was named as Veterinary Nurse registered animal medicine advisor of the year, also collecting a cheque for £200. Emma, who has been a head nurse with the Willows Veterinary Group for the past 17 years, explains, “I am passionate about helping my clients provide the best care for their pets, as well as educating them.

“My role as an AMTRA advisor gives me a thorough knowledge of the products and their safe use, and enables to me to explain and consult with clients to ensure the most suitable and safest treatment for their pets.”

Student Veterinary Nurse at Harper Adams University, Ellie Houston is the proud recipient of the best equine advisor, receiving the Battles Cup and a cheque for £200. Ellie says, “I am currently on my industry placement, but already I can recognise the importance of communication to build a rapport with clients and to give them the best possible advice for the individual situation.

“Also, I feel raising awareness of what animal medicines advisors are registered and qualified to do, and their skill-sets, is important,” she adds.

“I would like to congratulate Stephanie, Helen, Emma and Ellie. We are delighted to recognise the achievements of these outstanding AMTRA SQPs. It is testament to their dedication and hard-work and really reflects the commitment that we see from registered animal medicines advisors across the country,” says Stephen Dawson, AMTRA’s secretary general.

“There are some 7,000 AMTRA registered animal medicines advisors, or SQPs, working across the equine, farming and companion animal sectors, making a real difference to the health and welfare of our animals. These qualified professionals offer free and impartial advice on issues such as resistance, responsible use of wormers and other medicines, and general animal health and welfare.

“Through their professional advice on responsible use, AMTRA SQPs support industry-wide efforts to keep animal medicines effective into the future,” concludes Mr Dawson.