Over the last year a qualitative study has been performed to investigate the opinions, perceptions and experiences of farmers and veterinary surgeons with the UK surveillance system.
The current research into animal health surveillance has been predominantly focused on improving the technical aspects and there is little work looking at the engagement of stakeholders with the surveillance system.
UK scanning surveillance relies on the submission of samples or reports from private veterinary surgeons, which in turn rely on the propensity of farmers to seek veterinary advice. Farmers and veterinary practitioners are therefore at the forefront of disease surveillance and the data being received is shaped by what they perceive to be a threat.
There is limited research looking at how these two groups of stakeholders view the surveillance system, and their role within it. One aspect that must be considered is the role of human behaviour; factors such as disease awareness and social pressure are thought to play an important part in motivating farmers to contact their veterinary surgeon.
This study will use qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviews and focus groups to explore the thoughts, opinions and experiences of both farmers and veterinary surgeons concerning the UK scanning surveillance system.
The aims of the project are to:
- Gain a clearer understanding of the perceptions, motivations and barriers of farmers and veterinary surgeons to engagement with surveillance for new or re-emerging diseases.
- Design and implement interventions that may improve engagement with these two groups of stakeholders.
- Assess the impact of these interventions. The findings from this project could be used to inform longer term interventions that could be employed to increase the engagement of farmers and veterinary surgeons with animal health surveillance.
Over the last year a qualitative study has been performed to investigate the opinions, perceptions and experiences of farmers and veterinary surgeons with the UK surveillance system. The study involved semi-structured interviews with farmers and veterinary practitioners. A Thematic Analysis has been performed on the resulting data. The preliminary results of the analysis indicated that a regular podcast would be an appropriate user focused intervention to provide information about surveillance to vets in first opinion practice.
The Animal Health Surveillance Podcast began in early 2021 and is released once a fortnight. Episodes are topical, focus on different aspects of surveillance, and include interviews with experts in the field. The choice of each episode topic was informed by the data from the previous qualitative study. The podcast is disseminated and publicised to vets using social media (find us on Twitter @TheAHSpodcast).