Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency: West Midlands

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th January 2012.

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Photo of Chris White Chris White Conservative, Warwick and Leamington

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to improve (a) communication and (b) response times between the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and farmers in the West Midlands.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In late 2011, the West Midlands Animal Health Office experienced some problems with a new national computer system which affected the efficiency of their communications with farmers.

Many of these problems have now been resolved, more staff have been moved into the TB and communications teams and additional training and support has been provided. As a result of this, farmers should already be seeing an improvement in communications from the West Midlands office.

During February and March 2012, field, laboratory and administration staff from the East Midlands and West Midlands offices and the regional laboratories will be brought together under a single management team to make full use of all available resources across the Midlands region to focus on improving service to customers.

Regular meetings are being held with the Regional National Farmers Union and other industry bodies to explore how they and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency can work better together to improve communications and working relationships even more.

If farmers have any concerns about the time taken to respond to them individually, they are encouraged to contact the Regional Operations Director through their local office.

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