Coronavirus update – 20 March

20 March – third update

AMTRA has asked Government that RAMA/SQP retailers be exempted from any further emergency provisions that the government might introduce to close certain retailers.

“Veterinary services” have been defined as essential, and we have pointed out that RAMA/SQP retailers form a key part in the UK’s delivery of veterinary services across farm, equine and companion animals. They supply veterinary medicines (80% of parasitic medicines for endemic diseases in farm livestock, for instance), as well as food, bedding and other key products and services. There is not spare capacity for this to be met by veterinary practices and supermarkets. Such retailers therefore play a key role in animal health and welfare, and in the security of the food chain.

20 March – second update

“Key workers” as regards the provision of school places for children of key workers are described in government guidance as including “those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).”

AMTRA is not in a position to offer definitive interpretation, but it seems to us that if your absence in order to look after your child would have a critical impact on the supply of veterinary medicines (for example, the store would have to close if you weren’t there) then you should be able to make that case strongly to the school or education authority for you to be regarded as a “key worker”.

20 March

AMTRA staff are now generally working from home, with a maximum of one person in the office, sometimes none. If you can, please email us ([email protected]) – even if only to ask us to phone you.

Thanks very much.

17 March

In the light of yesterday’s updated government advice, we have decided to cancel AMTRA exams at Writtle on 18/19 March, at SRUC Oatridge on 30/31 March, and at Askham Bryan on 14/15 April; company-specific exams have also been cancelled. As a result there are no exams until the end of April. We will keep the situation under review for future exams, but currently it seems likely that further cancellations will follow.

We’re sorry that circumstances mean we have to let you down when you have worked so hard towards gaining your qualification.

While we consider that the risks associated with being well spaced apart in the written exam room, or several metres from an AMTRA assessor, are very small, we’ve taken the view that our duty of care to you as our candidates, our assessors, and our partners at Harper Adams and the assessment centres, and to the wider community, is such that this is the appropriate course, for the moment at least.

For the avoidance of doubt there will, of course, be no cancellation/rebooking fee due. Our normal 24-month limit for sitting exams (without additional fee) will also not apply.

We will add more exam dates to the schedule on our website when the situation becomes clearer.