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Introduction

An SQP is a Suitably Qualified Person – this is the legal phrase used in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. AMTRA also uses the term Registered Animal Medicines Advisor in addition to SQP. The second is the legal term, but the first describes the role better, and we currently tend to use it in external communications with animal owners and others.

Registered Animal Medicines Advisors have an important and responsible role, contributing to animal health and, in the case of farm livestock, farm profitability. They are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, but to do so must act professionally including following the rules of the Regulations and of an associated Code of Practice.

AMTRA SQPs work in a variety of work environments – in veterinary practices, in agricultural or equine businesses, in pet shops. They can deal with customers face-to-face or via the telephone or Internet, but the legal and professional obligations remain the same.

Becoming an AMTRA SQP requires passing both written and oral exams, but that is not the end of the process: being an AMTRA SQP means an ongoing commitment, acting responsibly, following the rules in the Regulations and Code of Practice, advising animal owners on choice of medicine and their safe and effective use, as well as other strategies, contributing to the health and welfare of their animals. There is also a requirement to do some ongoing learning known as CPD (continuing professional development) and to pay an annual fee to remain on the AMTRA Register of SQPs.

AMTRA SQPs are subject to disciplinary processes where we have reports of alleged non-compliance with the rules, and if found in breach can have action ranging from a letter of guidance through to permanent removal from the register of SQPs.

Some people working towards becoming an AMTRA SQP go on an external training course, for instance at a college or university. Others get support from their employer, and some study solely from the AMTRA training material – the printed manual and online. Everything you need should be in the information from AMTRA. Most people find external training support very helpful but it is supplementary and not required – the decision is yours.

Whatever learning route you take, it is important that you have enrolled as a student SQP with AMTRA, and that when ready you book your exam with AMTRA – booking a training course with an external provider is not the same as either of these steps.