An SQP is an animal medicine advisor, known by the legally defined term “Suitably Qualified Person”. An SQP must pass a set of exams to demonstrate animal health knowledge and an understanding of the legal system. Once qualified, SQPs are allowed to prescribe and/or supply certain medicines (those classified POM-VPS and NFA-VPS) for farm animals, horses, and pets.
See also our page on “What is an SQP?“
SQPs may only supply veterinary medicines for which they are qualified from registered premises – that is, a Veterinary Practice Premises (VPP) registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS); a retail pharmacy registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI); or premises approved as SQP Retailers’ premises by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) .
Please note that if you are setting up a new SQP Retailers’ premises, you must apply directly to the VMD’s Inspections & Investigations Team (IIT) with the appropriate payment. This does not happen automatically once you’ve passed your SQP exam. The premises must be inspected and approved before veterinary medicines can be obtained and supplied. The VMD aims to process applications within 10 working days and conduct the approval inspection within 30 days of the application being processed.
The standard process of becoming an AMTRA SQP requires a significant commitment in terms of learning, but it is simple administratively provided you understand the distinct stages:
1. Enrol with AMTRA
Complete an enrolment form (online form for standard students, online form for veterinary nurses, or a paper form to print and return) with the appropriate fee. We’ll send you a training manual for you to study. If you wish, you can also book on a course run by one of the colleges. If you book a course with one of the colleges, you must still enrol directly with AMTRA.
2. Book an exam
Send us the exam booking form, and then sit the exam – good luck! If you book a course with one of the colleges, you must still book the exam directly with AMTRA.
3. Wait for your results
Your results can take up to 8 weeks after the exam. If you pass the necessary modules and the viva (oral exam) you will become an SQP, with the obligations and duties that entails.
The process in its essentials is simple, but please read the details. The full content is on this page for ease of access – you might want to print it out.
Those working in pharmacies in particular may want to consider the benefits of the Veterinary Pharmacy Education Programme. In collaboration with Harper Adams University, the programme now comprises certificates in companion animal and equine healthcare and large animal healthcare, University College and Postgraduate Diplomas and a Masters in Veterinary Pharmacy with training that will lead to the award of SQP status by AMTRA. Admission is open to both pharmacists and non pharmacists.
See the Harper Adams Veterinary Pharmacy website for more details.