HC Deb 27 February 2002 vol 380 cc1344-5W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to increase the size of the State Veterinary Service. [37476]

Mr. Morley

[holding answer 26 February 2002]: The Government are determined to ensure that the State Veterinary Service (SVS) has the ability to operate with maximum efficiency and be able to respond rapidly to any emergency. As from 3 December 2001 the Chief Veterinary Officer, as Director General of Animal Health and Welfare, has taken command of the Veterinary Policy Unit, together with the Animal Health Group and the TSE Directorate. The SVS Field Service has transferred to the command of the Director General of Operations and Service Delivery.

The Structure of the SVS Field Service is currently the same as in July 2001 but we are in the process of creating a new Animal Health Divisional Office at Newcastle. This will bring the total number of Animal Health Divisions to 24.

We have recently appointed 36 new permanent veterinary staff and further appointments are in the pipeline which will bring the SVS up to its full complement of veterinary staff.

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