RCVS Knowledge launches new SMART goals tool to improve antimicrobial use

Veterinary charity RCVS Knowledge is pleased to announce the launch of its Farm Vet Champions SMART goals tool, which allows veterinary teams who treat farm animals to set goals to help target, track and improve their antimicrobial prescribing.

The new tool is an addition to the Farm Vet Champions programme, which supports veterinary teams with knowledge and resources to ensure antimicrobials are used responsibly for the benefit of animals, the public and society. The new resource is completely free and available through the RCVS Knowledge Learn platform.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing global crisis that puts us all at risk of developing untreatable and potentially fatal infections. AMR is no longer a silent pandemic; it is vital that we use antimicrobials responsibly before millions of lives are lost.

Since Farm Vet Champions launched in May 2021, almost 700 Farm Vet Champions have had access to its free, on-demand CPD covering species-specific modules, behaviour change and communications and the legal use of veterinary medicines, in a variety of formats, including articles, webinars and podcasts.

The new SMART goals tool will provide additional to help veterinary teams, to turn their learning into action and help them manage their antimicrobial use in practice.

Fiona Lovatt, Farm Vet Champions Clinical Lead, says: “I am so excited to see the launch of our SMART goal tool. It is both engaging and simple to use, and I expect it will encourage practice teams to motivate each other to track their progress in their stewardship activities.

“I am extremely grateful to the experienced team at RCVS Knowledge as well as our dedicated steering group from across the veterinary and agricultural organisations who have partnered with us to develop this amazing resource.

“It is such a critical time to ensure we are using antimicrobials responsibly so that they will work when patients really need them. We all have a responsibility to fight antimicrobial resistance. The good news is there is a lot we can do – one of those things is getting involved with Farm Vet Champions, enhancing our skills and adapting our practice.”

Fraser Broadfoot, Head of Antibiotic Use and Stewardship Team at Veterinary Medicines Directorate, says: “We are really supportive of this important initiative. In the UK we have seen a 52% reduction in antibiotic use for food producing animals since 2014, and this has been driven by vets and farmers working together to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics and with a strong focus on disease prevention. However, as highlighted in the RUMA sector targets, there are still areas where improvements can be made and where antibiotic use data is lacking.

“Driving forward positive changes is extremely rewarding, but can also be challenging. This SMART goals tool therefore provides an easy-to-use and practical resource that is designed to help and motivate vets and practice teams to set, monitor and accomplish goals and build on the tremendous progress that they have already achieved.  This will not only help the livestock sectors to achieve their targets, but will result in improvements in animal health and, by reducing the burden of resistant bacteria, have public health benefits too.”

RCVS Knowledge offers a broad range of resources and initiatives on AMR. For more information on Farm Vet Champions, please click here.