A Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (RAMA) is the name given to those people described as SQPs (Suitably Qualified Persons) by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. Registered Animal Medicines Advisors have an important and responsible role, contributing to animal health and, in the case of farm livestock, farm profitability. 

SQPs are entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations; but to do so must act professionally in following the rules of the Regulations and of an associated Code of Practice.

People ask, “…what is an SQP?” 

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An SQP is someone qualified to give trusted, professional advice to those with animals under their careA SQP or RAMA is registered to prescribe and supply certain veterinary medicinesThey are trained to know when and what to prescribe, when to refer, and are knowledgeable about the wider aspects of animal health and welfare.

What medicines can SQPs/RAMAs supply?

A RAMA/SQP is entitled to prescribe and/or supply the categories of product that fall within the scope of the qualification they have obtained and the registration they hold.

The range of veterinary medicines available falls within the follow distribution classifications:

  • POM-VPS (Prescription Only Medicine – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP)
  • NFA-VPS (Non-Food Animal – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, SQP)
  • AVM-GSL (Authorised Veterinary Medicine – General Sales List)

POM-VPS medicines are those in farm animals and horses used to reduce or prevent effects of disease in herds, flocks or individual animals (such as internal and external parasites in farm animals and horses, and some vaccines), where there are risks for the user/animal/consumer/environment, but these can be given by oral or written advice from professional non-vets.

Similarly, the NFA-VPS medicines are only for use in non-food animals (dogs, cats, ferrets, pet rabbits, etc) where they may be used routinely to prevent or limit the effects of disease (such as internal and external parasites), where there are risks for the user/animal/consumer/environment, but these can be given by oral or written advice, and where the animal keeper can be given sufficient practical advice to permit effective and safe usage.

Where would you find an SQP/RAMA?

You may find SQPs in a variety of retail outlets such as pet shops, saddlers, farm supplies and online pharmacies. Some work in veterinary practices or for large farms. Wherever they work, their role is to give trusted advice and deliver great customer service.

SQPs are qualified in Companion Animal (dogs, cats, rabbits), Equine, Farm or Avian, or any combination. SQPs qualified with Vetpol or VetSkill are trained in the broader aspects of animal health including general welfare and appropriate care.

Different training routes to become an SQP

The VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate) govern the SQP role and to make sure that the role is conducted efficiently. SQPS/RAMAs must register with a Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) Approved Regulator in order to carry out their professional duties.

VMD make sure that all professional obligations are met, standards upheld and that all our SQPs adhere to ‘The Code Of Practice’.

There are three main training providers of the SQP/RAMA qualification. These are Vetpol, Vetskill and AMTRA.

The objective of the course(s) provided by these trainers is not only to prepare students for the examination, but to give them a good understanding of animal health, meaning they are able to have discussions with customers about products and health.

What happens after an exam?

After successfully passing the examination, the SQP/RAMA is entitled to prescribe certain medication. However, being an SQP/RAMA does not stop there!

All SQPs/RAMAs are obliged to undertake CPD – Continuing Professional Development. The amount of CPD required depends on the category of RAMA registration to accumulate a minimum number of CPD hours per calendar year, relevant to their species qualification. Failure to keep up to date with this requirement could lead to removal from the register; meaning the person may no longer be able to work as an SQP.  

All CPD is accredited by the regulatory body (AMTRA, VetPol or VetSkill) in advance, and a proportion is subject to an audit visit by a CPD auditor. All CPD points are then recorded to keep track of how everyone is progressing.

Further reading:

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