Richard Senior, CBO
I have not worked at an exhibition stand since January. How quickly you forget how exhausting these events are. I was aching and my feet were sore. This was disappointing as I have been putting some not insignificant effort into getting fit and in shape for the rugby season. I am beginning to regret having introduced a policy of ‘no chairs’ at these events, ‘always at the ready’!
The logistics demands of having two tradeshows at the same time were complicated – however this is a small price to pay if the conference is productive. Both the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) events were good for us. As a preferred supplier to both organisations, we are always pleased to support these events and have had positive feedback and interest in the past.
The AHVLA conference was held at the architecturally impressive grand Victorian Royal Holloway College in Egham, Surrey.
One of the key topics of the conference was the review of BSE, the disease, Eradication and Monitoring process carried out over the last 25 years. This has subsequently become a textbook case for disease control with the Bioshield sample transport system being an integral part of the mass testing process. The system has addressed the sample taking process from extraction to sample reception providing an easy to use, cost effective and environmentally solution to both the public and private sector, picking up accolades such as the Global World star award. Testing continues today, although numbers of cattle tested reduced by 25% in July due to an increase in the age of testing and growing confidence in the successful eradication of the disease.
The exhibition was a good opportunity to meet with a broad range of individuals from department managers, laboratory staff and end users, the vets. Most of who recognised our systems and had positive feedback and in some cases useful suggestions for further improvements. We are doing a good job supporting the customers, noticeably on the ability to deliver at short notice and on time as this was recognised as imperative to the sample taking activity.
The HPA conference was of a similar format, but for Human Health.
The conference addressed a number of key issues for the HPA. The most relevant and of interest to us was the NCSP, National Chlamydia Screening Programme. We have been involved in the manufacture and distribution of hundreds of thousands of NCSP postal samples over the last few years and although there are now signs of success in controlling the spread and eventual reduction in cases there is still a lot to be done. We met with a number of PCTs, Primary Care trusts and looked at ways of further improving the Intelsius kits in order to promote the use and reduce costs to the scheme.
In addition to what we would consider regular activity, what was particularly interesting was the momentum gathering around inter-agency approach to total ownership and contingency solutions and we expect to be working closely with these organisations, as well as our partner, the NHS Supply Chain over the next few months understanding the challenges and delivering solutions to the group.
All in all a very useful exercise, good meetings, opportunities and a pleasant way to meet up with our partners.