CEREDIGION AM Elin Jones has welcomed the announcement that the Royal Veterinary College and Aberystwyth University are to collaborate on plans to set up a Centre of Veterinary Excellence.
The announcement was made on Monday (Jun 13) by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs at the University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS).
Ms Griffiths announced that Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College (University of London) had signed a memorandum of understanding to explore developing a joint venture in veterinary medical training and research in Wales, focusing on farming and livestock science. Wales does not currently have veterinary education provision.
Lesley Griffiths AM said: “Veterinary education for Wales has long been a topic of discussion and this is an ambition now being realised. This collaboration between Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College is excellent news for Welsh farmers and to the veterinary profession. It will provide a much needed hub of veterinary expertise right in the heart of our longest established university. This project also meets many of our well-being goals, in particular contributing to a healthy, resilient and prosperous Wales .”
Aberystwyth has a long record of excellence in research and teaching in the fields of agriculture and animal sciences. The first teaching in the subject at Aberystwyth began in the 1870s and the Department of Agriculture opened in 1891. This continues to the present day at the award-winning internationally recognised Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) which introduced a new degree in Veterinary Biosciences in 2015.
Established in 1791, the Royal Veterinary College, London is the oldest veterinary school in the English-speaking world. It is also one of the most prestigious, ranked as one of the top three vet schools in the world in the latest QS World University Rankings. It has renowned veterinary medicine and nursing degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as world-leading research.
Professor Chris Thomas, AU Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research , who is leading the project at Aberystwyth said: “We share the ambitions of the veterinary profession, Welsh Government and the farming industry to secure and enhance animal health in Wales and beyond. We believe Wales needs a model for vet training and science that not only emphasises production animal veterinary medicine but also integrates veterinary service provision, agricultural science, rural community wellbeing, economics and environmental sustainability. Developing this vision in partnership with the RVC is very exciting indeed .”
Professor David Church, RVC Vice- Principal for Learning and the Student Experienc e , who is leading at London stated: “Aberystwyth University is one of the leading Universities in the UK with internationally recognized expertise in animal and agricultural sciences. We believe there are real opportunities at numerous levels for The Royal Veterinary College to work with Aberystwyth in developing a veterinary degree programme tailored to the needs of the Welsh farming and animal health industries. We are both proud and excited to be part of this collaborative venture. “
Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales , said: “A joint veterinary training programme between Aberystwyth and the RVC would be an excellent development for Wales, increasing the number of professionals in veterinary medicine tailored for our needs, and providing a hub of veterinary excellence of direct relevance to Wales.”
Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales , added: “This is an exciting prospect, not only for veterinary medicine in Wales but also providing a focus for research and commercial development in a sector so important to the Welsh economy.”
Whilst the announcement of the plan was made by the Cabinet Secretary, Assembly Presiding Officer Elin Jones has long campaigned to provide a centre to train vets for Wales in Wales centred at Aberystwyth. In her recent interview with Herald Reporter Rhian Boyt, she discussed Plaid Cymru’s proposals to develop a Veterinary School at Aberystwyth University.
Responding to the news, Elin Jones told The Herald: “I welcome this announcement, and I am pleased that the Welsh Government is backing the next steps towards establishing a fully-fledged veterinary training programme in Wales.
“There’s a shortage of vets who specialise in farm livestock, and so a vet school in Aberystwyth and a centre focusing on farming and livestock science would be a major boost to both the university and the agricultural industry.
“I particularly welcome the decision to explore locating the proposed Centre of Veterinary Excellence in Aberystwyth, and I have no doubt that if established here it will be a major success.
“The University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS) has a long and impressive record in the fields of agriculture and animal sciences, and so I consider Aberystwyth to be an ideal home for a Welsh Centre of Veterinary Excellence.
“The creation of a veterinary training programme has been discussed for a long time in Wales – I am glad that we are now taking tangible steps towards realising this goal, and will look forward to hearing about further progress in the near future.
“This is an important development for Wales, and an exciting opportunity for Ceredigion.”
An FUW spokesman told the Herald : “A great deal of work has gone in to securing this commitment, and we look forward to continuing to work with those involved to ensure the new centre serves the interests of the Welsh livestock and dairy farms which are a cornerstone of our economy.”
Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs , Simon Thomas , has also welcomed the news that Wales’ first vet school is being planned for Aberystwyth. Simon Thomas said that Plaid Cymru had led the campaign to establish a school, and that he was pleased to see it progress.
He said: “Plaid Cymru has long campaigned for a veterinary school for Wales, and I am pleased that the creation of a vet school in Aberystwyth is a step closer. Establishing a Welsh vet school is important in meeting the specific demands of Wales’ predominantly livestock-based farming industry, and addressing the current shortage of vets with these specialisms.
“This has been a long-running campaign and I am pleased that Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College have taken the initiative to establish the school. Congratulations to them – they have Plaid Cymru’s full support.”
A working group of experts from IBERS and RVC will now design the joint programme and specify new facilities at Aberystwyth University. The team is due to deliver their report to the governing bodies of both institutions by August 2017.
Ceredigion Conservative Association Elects a New Chairman
On the 18th September, the Ceredigion Conservative Association held its Annual General Meeting, attended remotely by Conservative Members from across the County. The Association was formally re-established and Patrick Loxdale was elected as the new Chairman.
Commenting on his new position, Patrick says:
“ I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to serve in this position. I believe passionately in democracy and the democratic process. The Welsh Conservatives came second in Ceredigion in last year’s General Election, increasing the Conservative vote share by more than the national average. It shows that Conservative values are widely held by people of all ages in Ceredigion, and it is important that we have a functioning local association, and strong candidates to allow their opinions to be heard.”
Patrick, whose family have lived in Llanilar for five generations, previously served as a Medical Officer in The Royal Navy for almost twenty years, qualifying as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. From 2001 to 2016 he worked as an NHS Consultant in Devon. Moving back to Llanilar when his brother passed away, Patrick now farms from his family home and enjoys acquiring new knowledge in organic farming and rural management. Patrick adds:
“Ceredigion is a fantastic place to live, with a world beating environment. There are great opportunities for our future and our children’s security, prosperity and fulfilment here. Yet the Labour run Welsh Government continues to fail to grasp this and rarely provides any real focus outside of the M4 corridor! In next year’s Senedd election, the people of Ceredigion deserve a credible alternative choice; a choice that rejects both the on-going failures of Welsh Labour and the separatist ideology of Plaid Cymru. It is time for the people of Ceredigion to vote for the Welsh Conservatives.
Walk-in testing now available for Aberystwyth town
From today [Wednesday 30 September 2020], people in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing (through a booked appointment) via a temporary walk-in facility in the town.
Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged this extra testing service in addition to the drive through facility already in place at Canolfan Rheidol, because many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access the drive-through testing facility.
The facility is located in the former university nursery building (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), Penglais Road, Aberystwyth and can be accessed via the walkway which will be clearly signposted to ensure people get to the right place.
Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We have put this extra facility in place to make sure those in the local community without their own transport are not missing out on getting a test when they need it.
“We appreciate the efforts people are making to help protect each other during this challenging time. I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, keep social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible, to help us live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.”
Eifion Evans, Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive said, “We thank Hywel Dda University Health Board for providing extra testing service in Ceredigion. Residents and students alike are urged to utilise this service for the health of everyone living in our county and we are able to protect the vulnerable. This is a critical time for us to follow the rules and keep Ceredigion safe.”
Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.
Please make sure when booking your test that you select the option you need (for example, only book the walk-in centre if you are not able to travel in your own vehicle to the drive through facility). If you attend the walk-in centre you must wear a face covering.
University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide the temporary local address they are living at while they are students at Aberystwyth university and not their usual home address.
Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not turn up without booking first as it will not be possible to accommodate you without an appointment.
Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.
Thank you for helping to #KeepCeredigionSafe.
For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit www.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk
Adjustment to Safe Zones
In August, temporary traffic orders were introduced so that Safe Zones for four Ceredigion towns could remain for up to 18 months subject to regular reviews so minor adjustments can be made.
In line with the evidence collected on the use of the towns, Ceredigion County Council feel the need to keep the safe zones in place for the time being. Aberaeron and New Quay will continue as they are.
In Cardigan the closures will change to 11am until 4:30pm Monday to Saturday. The safe zones will not be in place on a Sunday in Cardigan. These adjustments will come in to force on Sunday morning, 04 October.
In Aberystwyth, additional parking has been implemented for the disabled and blue badge holders in Chalybeate Street close to the Care Society Mobility Centre.
Further enhancements to provide better access for the disabled and blue badge holders will also continue to be explored.
Safe zones were introduced in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay on 13 July to create safe and spacious areas for the public to visit and provide the confidence that social distancing can be maintained in these areas.
Safe zones will be in place until at least 01 November 2020 and reviewed fortnightly in line with the infection rate and available evidence.
More information can be seen on the safe zones web page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/SafeZones
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