The animal health sector recognised the top Suitably Qualified Persons (SQPs) at the Animal Health Distributors Association’s annual conference dinner held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel near Birmingham last week.

The three candidates achieving the highest scores in the Animal Medicines Training and Regulatory Authority (AMTRA)’s professional examinations last year were Robyn Brown of Mole Country Stores in Billingshurst, Sussex; Nadia Leal of the Animal Medicine Chest at Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields on Tyneside and Emma Woolgar of the Byker branch of Pets at Home in Newcastle.

 Robyn Brown and Elanco UK CEO Gaynor Hillier

Robyn Brown and Elanco UK CEO Gaynor Hillier

As the top all-species SQP, Ms Brown collected the Simon Fleet Cup and a cheque for £300 from Andrew Wylie of sponsor Zoetis, as well as the AHDA Cup for the best overall student from Gaynor Hillier of sponsor Elanco.

 She completed national diplomas in animal care and agriculture before going on to take a degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University. She is currently stock supervisor at the Billingshurst branch of Mole Country Stores. “I believe it is important to let people know that there is more to the medicine counter than just selling medicines,” notes Ms Brown. ”As an SQP with an agricultural degree, I feel I have lots to offer from health plans and FECs to grassland management and nutrition.

 “Achieving SQP status has made me more of a ‘complete package’ – I enjoy an advisory role and hope it will open up more doorways into different experiences and career progression.”

 Nadia Leal and Stephen Neale of Battles 

Nadia Leal and Stephen Neale of Battles 

Ms Leal won the Battles Cup and a cheque for £150 as the winner of the best equine and companion animal SQP, with the AMTRA Cup for best companion animal SQP going to Ms Woolgar plus £300 from sponsor Merial.

“We are delighted to recognise the achievements of these three outstanding students,” comments, AMTRA secretary general Stephen Dawson. “It is testament to their dedication and hard work, and really reflects the commitment that we see across of all of the SQP students on our courses, as well as the businesses that support them.”

“They join almost 7,000 SQPs working across the equine, farming and companion animal sectors. These qualified professionals offer free and impartial advice on issues such as resistance; responsible use of wormers and other medicines; and general animal health and welfare. Through their professional advice on responsible use, SQPs support industry-wide efforts to keep animal medicines effective into the future,” he concludes.