People: Mary Tivey, Julian Drewe, Jackie Cardwell, Elisa Lewis

The current research into animal health surveillance has been predominantly focussed 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. 

This project is a collaboration between the Royal Veterinary College (Mary-Ellen Tivey, Julian Drewe and Jackie Cardwell), Animal and Plant Health Agency (Richard Smith and Philip Jones) and London South Bank University (Elisa Lewis).

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