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Section of epidemiology

PhD opportunity: Understanding Post-prescription Medicines Use in Cattle (Bristol)

Antimicrobial resistance is becoming an increasingly important topic worldwide, and veterinary medicines use - particularly in the agricultural sector - has come under sustained scrutiny. Growing political pressure to reform and reduce medicine use seems inevitable, and an essential step is to accurately define and understand how medicines are being used by primary care-givers: veterinarians and dairy farmers. This project aims to develop and validate data collection platforms to inform future policies on medicines use in cattle, while ensuring that proposed restrictions are in the best interests of human and animal health and welfare. It will begin by examining differences between current medicines auditing tools and post-prescription data. Using in-depth information about amounts of medicines delivered to farms, it will examine how medicines are then distributed, integrating this knowledge with reliable, fit-for-purpose software, and developing and validating methods of recording or estimating on-farm medicines usage. A mixed methods approach will be applied, with ethnographic techniques used to identify and track perspectives and practices surrounding on-farm medicines use. Structured interviews will be used to ascertain what farmers and veterinary surgeons believe to be the current drawbacks of on-farm recording and what improvements could be made. Quantitative approaches will tackle the creation of a gold standard of recording to track medicines from prescription and dispensing by the veterinary surgeon, through the hands of the farmer and on to the individual animal. Establishing a gold standard is expected to involve medicines audits, waste receptacle audits and on-farm video recording in addition to time spent on-farm observing medicines administrations. Ongoing liaison with software developers will further inform the design of systems that can reconcile data from a number of sources farmers are already comfortable using, as well as improving these systems to establish novel, high quality and simple recording practices for farmers to utilise.

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University of Bristol